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Document 31992Y1216(02)

Council resolution of 3 December 1992 concerning the relationship between industrial competitiveness and environmental protection

OJ C 331, 16.12.1992, p. 5–7 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT)

In force


Council resolution of 3 December 1992 concerning the relationship between industrial competitiveness and environmental protection

Official Journal C 331 , 16/12/1992 P. 0005 - 0007

COUNCIL RESOLUTION of 3 December 1992 concerning the relationship between industrial competitiveness and environmental protection (92/C 331/03)


Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community,

Having regard to the Communication 'Industrial policy in an open and competitive environment: guidelines for a Community approach' presented by the Commission on 20 November 1990,

Having regard to the programme 'Towards Sustainability' presented by the Commission on 29 April 1992,

Having regard to relevant international agreements, and in particular the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, 3 to 14 June 1992,

Whereas the Community and its Member States subscribed to the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 which are aimed at achieving sustainable patterns of development worldwide and which recognise the importance of major groups and in particular the role of industry in achieving sustainable growth;

Whereas Article 130r of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community sets out the objectives of the Community relating to the environment and the principles and factors which shall be taken into account in preparing action to achieve those objectives; and whereas the Community shall take action to the extent that the objectives can be achieved better at Community level than at the level of the individual Member States;

Acknowledging that environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definitions and implementation of other Community policies;

Acknowledging the contribution which healthy and sustainable growth can make to providing the resources and know-how needed to improve the environment and the central importance of industry and industrial competitiveness to achieving such growth;

Acknowledging that small and medium-sized enterprises as well as large enterprises must play a part in protecting and improving the environment in order to achieve sustainable development;

Acknowledging that policies to protect and improve the environment can stimulate the development and use of more efficient processes and can create markets for new products and processes as well as adding to the costs of industry;

Acknowledging the existence of growing public pressure for improvement in industry's environmental performance and of a desire for products which have less adverse impact on the environment;

Acknowledging that the development and implementation of measures to protect and improve the environment should take into account the nature of the problem to be addressed, the efficiency of the measures and the potential benefits and costs of action or lack of action;

Acknowledging that measures shall also seek to improve the competitive position of Community industry in world markets;

Acknowledging that such measures which distort competition within the Community or restrict trade must nonetheless be avoided in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty;

Acknowledging that the Community's policy for the environment must take account of the balanced development of its regions and recognizing that the Cohesion Fund to be established can make a clear contribution to improving environmental protection and industrial competitiveness in the less developed regions and regions undergoing reconversion,



1. WELCOMES the Communication on industrial competitiveness and environmental protection adopted by the Commission on 4 November 1992 and agrees that close coordination between policies for industry and the environment is essential;

2. AFFIRMS its commitment to integrating environmental objectives into policies affecting industry; considers that industry should take into account environmental considerations into its own strategies and calls on it to develop and adopt clean or cleaner available processes and products and to develop appropriate internal management systems;

3. CONSIDERS that a preventative and market-based approach to environmental protection can be beneficial to industrial competitiveness and should be adopted whenever possible;

4. AFFIRMS its commitment to enhanced industrial competitiveness coupled with a high level of environmental protection and declares that it will consider further how this is to be achieved;

5. WELCOMES the Commission's intention, as indicated by the programme 'Towards Sustainability', to establish clear, long term environmental objectives for industry, and considers that to play its full part in achieving sustainable development, industry, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises must be closely involved from the outset in a dialogue on the development of policies to achieve those objectives,

6. RECOGNIZES that economic instruments to provide incentives for improved environmental performance and voluntary action by industry, including agreements between industry and Government provided they are implemented effectively and are compatible with the competition rules of the EEC Treaty, may achieve progress towards the Community's environmental objectives more cost-effectively than compulsory environmental provisions; it considers that such alternative approaches should always be examined as an option to achieve the most appropriate mix of instruments;

7. CONSIDERS that measures to achieve the Community's environmental objectives should be coherent, predictable, and practicable for industry, taking into particular account the specific needs of small and medium-sized enterprises and the environmental conditions of the various regions of the Community and must be enforced consistently in all parts of the Community;

8. CONSIDERS that there is a need for improved and systematic methods of assessing the benefit of measures to protect and improve the environment and their costs and benefits to industry,

9. CONSIDERS that, as proposals aimed at improving and protecting the environment are of such importance to industry, general procedures concerning the preparation and publication of impact assessments should be followed in most cases;

10. CONSIDERS that there is a need for more intensified information to industry on the potential benefits to its competitiveness of the development and use of cleaner technologies;

11. CONSIDERS it important that the relationship between trade policy and the environment should be clarified, affirms its intention to cooperate with the work in this area in the OECD, GATT and other international fora, and agrees to intensify its examination of this issue;

12. CONSIDERS that competition within the Community will be improved if industrial and private consumers are provided with more reliable and consistent information on the environmental performance of firms and products;

13. AFFIRMS its commitment to the 'polluter pays' principle;

14. CONSIDERS that in certain areas there is a need also for an improved statistical framework and for clarification of the scope and size of the Community market for environmental technologies;


(i) promote an effective dialogue with industry and ensure that general procedures concerning consultation with interested parties, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, are followed in relation to its new proposals for legislation or other instruments to implement environmental policy;

(ii) have regard to the most cost-effective instruments to achieve the Community's environmental policy objectives, taking into account, in particular, the scope for voluntary action by industry and the advantages of economic instruments as an alternative or complement to regulation;

(iii) have regard to the balance between the costs to industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises, of measures to protect and improve the environment and their benefits to industry and the environment;

(iv) develop, as a matter of urgency, in consultation with Member States and other interested parties, improved and systematic methods for determining the best instrument or mix of instruments to give effect to environmental policies and for assessing the costs to industry and benefits to the environment of those policies;

(v) ensure that measures to protect and improve the environment provide maximum flexibility for industry to develop and adopt the most appropriate and economically feasible technologies and techniques for achieving environmental targets based on effective and clean technology;

(vi) consider further and, insofar as necessary, how the statistical framework required to inform the Community's policies towards the environment and the environmental technology industry might be improved;


(a) cooperate to encourage the development of environmental technologies, including cleaner technologies and their diffusion to industry, including to small and medium-sized enterprises in all regions of the Community;

(b) give greater emphasis to the development of environmental technologies including cleaner technologies within existing or planned programmes for the support of research and development relevant to industrial processes;

(c) cooperate to maintain the integrity of the internal market whilst promoting protection of the environment at a high level by avoiding the creation of new trade barriers at national level;

(d) encourage standards-making bodies at national and international level to give adequate weight to environmental considerations in the development of industry standards;

(e) give greater priority to ensuring, for example by ecolabelling, that consumers receive information on the environmental performance of products which is reliable and consistent throughout the Community;

(f) cooperate to ensure compatibility between an open trade policy and protection of the environment and to avoid unilateral trade measures.

17. DECLARES its intention to consider these issues further in the first half of 1993.