Interview: A once in a decade strategy

The EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) should aim to resolve the existing complexity in chemicals legislation and not increase it further. CEPE’s Public affairs manager Sebastian Kraußlach shares some details on what to expect.

EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability is an integral part of the Green Deal. Image source: Herr Loeffler -

Could you please briefly explain the CSS?

Sebastian Kraußlach: On 14 October 2020, the European Commission presented the “EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability – Towards a toxic-free Environment”. The chemicals strategy is an essential part of the Green Deal and its zero-pollution ambition. The strategy aims to achieve a toxic-free environment with a higher level of protection of human health and the environment, while strengthening the competitiveness of the EU’s chemicals industry. The strategy is a once in a decade strategy and will fundamentally re-shape chemicals policy in Europe.

What is the impact on the coatings industry?

Kraußlach: Many of the strategy’s 56 specific measures are of concern to the coatings industry and require consideration and engagement. At CEPE we will focus on priority areas that are of high importance to the sector and where we can leverage our expertise. Among the priorities are key performance indicators for the industry transition, the definition of essential use, the mixture assessment factor (cocktail effects) and the generic risk management approach which is broadening the hazard-based approach. While much will depend on the implementation, the strategy proposes a strong tightening of the existing legislation. Among the many new, to be defined, concepts, the proposed short implementation schedule is concerning and justifies a discussion in every company. Generally, coating manufactures must expect a further increase in reformulations due to unavailable mixture ingredients and much higher data requirements on their products.

How will CEPE coordinate the next steps?

Kraußlach: We have established a dedicated working group on the EU Green Deal and a subgroup that focuses specifically on the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability. All members are welcome to join these groups and to actively defend our sector. Crucial in our efforts are all our national associations and we collaborate with our partners of the chemical industry (Cefic) and other down-stream user associations (e.g. DUCC).

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