Sustainability is law

There are increasing numbers of legal sustainability requirements that directly affect companies. Existing specifications are thus drivers of development and, at the same time, often become obligations. In all cases, the following applies to every organisation: Early alignment with legal requirements can pay off over the medium term.



European Green Deal

This is a significant topic for the European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen’s leadership: the European Green Deal. This aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. To do this, net emissions of greenhouse gases should be reduced to zero in the European Union by 2050 – this requires more stringent climate aims. This is why the EU is implementing various measures to protect the environment, to reduce emissions and to promote a green economy. The EU will be providing a lot of money over the next 10 years, up to a planned € 1 billion.



EU taxonomy

The EU taxonomy policy sets out the standards for sustainable enterprise management. As a classification tool, the EU taxonomy categorises specific company activities as a contribution towards sustainability or not. Investors will then be able to make a better evaluation regarding the sustainability of a company they want to invest in. The EU commission has defined measurable criteria for this purpose. The aim of the EU taxonomy is to steer more money into sustainable technologies and companies.



Supply Chain Act

The German Supply Chain Act (LkSG) was adopted in 2021 and will come into force on 1 January 2023. This Act will, for the first time, regulate company responsibility to ensure that human rights are monitored in the supply chain. Company responsibility no longer ends at the factory gate, but now applies along the entire supply chain. The due diligence duties are classified according to the scope of influence of the companies or their branches. The law initially applies to companies located in Germany and companies with branches and minimum 3000 employees in Germany. As of 1 January 2024, the law will cover companies with at least 1000 employees in Germany. Since February 2022, a proposal has been made for an EU legal framework relating to company due diligence along the value chain.



EuPIA exclusion policy

Printing ink manufacturers who commit to compliance with the EuPIA exclusion policy make a significant contribution to safe printing products for humans and the environment. The European printing ink industry has voluntarily waived the use of raw materials that have serious harmful effects on human health in all printing ink formulations since 1996. This policy applies to the production and delivery of printing inks and related products within Europe. The European printing ink association EuPIA coordinates this sector initiative; however, compliance with this exclusion policy is left to individual companies.



German Sustainability Code

The German Sustainability Code (DNK) is an internationally applicable reporting standard for sustainability criteria. An interesting point: The DNK offers low-threshold programs to support inexperienced companies in the development of a sustainability strategy and in starting up sustainability reporting. This code is aimed at all organisations and companies that want to inform their stakeholders about their sustainability services: Irrespective of whether they are small, large, public or private companies with or without sustainability reporting. Developed during a stakeholder process in 2011 by the Council for Sustainable Development, the DNK now also includes the legal requirements of the German CSR Directive Implementation Act.



Chemical strategy for sustainability

As part of the Green Deal, the chemical strategy encompasses more than 50 measures. It is intended to protect humans and the environment against hazardous chemicals and contribute to the zero pollutant goal. The implementation of this chemical strategy will have wide-ranging consequences for the chemical industry and users of chemical products. It proposes changes to the REACH regulation, the CLP regulation and numerous other regulations – including those applicable to food contact materials. This includes comprehensive new data requirements, usage limitations and the regulation of material groups with specific properties. The inclusion of new risk classes in the CLP regulation is also taken into consideration. In total, this will include a stronger risk-based orientation of the entire chemicals legislation sector.