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You are here: Home / Publications / Environmental Agreements - Environmental Effectiveness. Summary / Case Studies 4: The Netherlands

Case Studies 4: The Netherlands

The Netherlands: Declaration on the Implementation of Environmental Policy in the Chemical Industry*

Case Study 4: The Netherlands: Declaration on the Implementation of Environmental Policy in the Chemical Industry
The Environmental Issues Climate Change, Acidification, Diffusion, Eutrophication, Waste Disposal, Disturbance, Parching, Wastage and Company-based environmental management
Targets Targets set out in the Integrated Environmental Target Plan (IETP) for the Chemical Industry, based on the targets set in the National Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP) and NEPP-plus and other relevant action plans, covering the themes listed above. There are 61 quantitative emissions reductions targets for 2000 & 2010, with 40 for 1995, for pollutants covering: climate change (4 pollutants), acidification (4 pollutants), dispersion to air (19 pollutants), water (32 pollutants) and eutrophication (2 pollutants).
Start Date 1993
Timescale Targets set for 1994/1995, 2000 and 2010
Number of Signatories 108 (all the parties listed below)
Parties
  • The Government (3 Ministries)
  • The Association of Provincial Authorities
  • The Union of Netherlands Municipalities
  • The Association of Water Control Boards
  • The Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry
  • 103 Individual Companies
Type of EA Implementation Agreement, under the Target Group Approach to meet the targets established in the NEPP
Sanctions/ Enforcement Mechanism Complements the existing legislation for operation licences, issued by the Water Boards and the Municipalities/ Provincial authorities. The existing licensing system applies to non-signatories. Companies in the EA benefit from a simplified, more flexible licensing process.
Other provisions/ principles Each company in the EA produces a Company Environmental Plan (CEP) every fouryears, covering plans for an eight-year period, approved by the licensing authority, and used as the basis for the operating licence.
Legal Basis As signatories to the agreement, the individual companies are bound by private law.

4.2 Background and Context

4.2.1 The Country Context

During the 1980s, a sense of urgency developed in the Netherlands over the need to tackle environmental problems and to move towards sustainable development. At the same time, the need to adopt an integrated approach to environmental policy became apparent. This led the government to produce the National Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP) and the NEPP Plus (published in 1989 and 1990 respectively) which set out a strategy aimed at achieving sustainable development by the year 2010.

The NEPP and NEPP Plus contain over 200 quantified targets as part of an integrated environmental policy programme. The target-group approach was established to divide the responsibility for achieving these targets between different sectors of society. There are seven target groups: industry, agriculture, transport, consumers, the construction industry, the energy sector and refineries. The target group approach arose from the recognition of the need for co-operation between different sectors of society to meet the ambitious goals set in the NEPP. In particular, the government perceived that the necessary improvements in industrial environmental performance would be more easily reached by obtaining industry's commitment to solving problems and by using their expertise. The unilateral imposition of legislation by government was no longer recognised as the best option for all cases (Bastmeijer, 1996).

The integrated environmental agreements signed with individual industry sectors, such as the Chemical Industry Declaration, were developed through negotiations between government and industry, as a result of the target group approach.

The target group approach was a product of the consultative approach common in Dutch politics. The history of consultation between government, industry and NGOs has been favourable to the development of EAs in the Netherlands. The chemical industry declaration is one of a number of covenants adopted under the target group approach, as part of the integrated environmental policy introduced with the NEPP. Many different types of EA have been signed in the Netherlands, with over 100 known agreements covering energy and environment, of which over 40 have been agreed since 1985. A code of conduct for establishing environmental covenants has been prepared by VROM (The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment) and this sets out good practice in the drafting and preparation of EAs (Bastmeijer, 1994). EAs have also been used for a number of other policy areas.

A number of other developments in the field of environmental policy have occurred in the move towards an integrated environmental approach:

  • the passing of a new Environmental Management Act (EMA), introducing modernised, integrated environmental provisions, to be implemented gradually from 1993;
  • the introduction of greater flexibility in terms of environmental regulation for those companies which adopt an active approach to environmental improvements and management, for example through the simplification of the licensing procedure for companies producing Company Environmental Plans under the integrated environmental EAs (as discussed below) and with the use of company Environmental Management Systems.

4.2.2 The Environmental Issue

The declaration provides an integrated approach to improving the environmental performance of the sector. The targets are set out in the Integral Environmental Target Plan (IETP) for the Chemical Industry, which is derived from the NEPP, NEPP Plus and other official plans covering water, energy management, and other specific issues (CFC action plan, Hydrocarbons 2000 project, Acidification Abatement Plan etc). The IETP is included in an annex to the declaration, providing details of the basis for the targets set. The impacts and activities covered are:

  • Climate change
  • Acidification
  • Diffusion (of environmentally hazardous substances to different environmental media, and radiation)
  • Eutrophication
  • Waste Disposal (including soil)
  • Disturbance (Noise, Odour, External safety)
  • Company-based environmental management.

Targets have been set for climate change, acidification, diffusion, eutrophication, waste disposal and disturbance, focusing on priority substances and waste streams. The targets do not cover all emissions for chemical plants.

4.2.3 The Sector

The declaration covers companies covered by SBI codes 29 and 30, with the exception of paint, lacquer, varnish and printing industries, pharmaceuticals companies and soap and cosmetics manufacturers. The groups covered by the agreement are listed in Table 4.1 below.

In 1995, 126 companies fell into these categories, of which 10 are large, multinational companies. 108 are members of VNCI, the Dutch Chemical Industry Association, which is a signatory to the declaration.

Table 4.1: Chemical Industry Groups Covered by the Declaration

SBI code Industry Group
29.1 Fertiliser substances
29.2 Synthetic Resins
29.3 Colorant and paint
29.4 Other chemical base materials
29.8 Pesticides
29.9 Industries using other chemical products
30.0 Artificial and synthetic yarn and fibre company
lijn.gif (900 bytes)

The chemical industry in the Netherlands is active in improving its environmental performance. It was suggested by some actors that this may be due to the nature of the chemical industry, where much care has traditionally been taken over matters of health and safety, including environmental health and safety (de Hood, VROM). In the annual review of environmental management conducted by KPMG, the chemical industry was revealed as the leader in the Netherlands in terms of the development and application of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs). VNCI, the Dutch chemical industry association, consider that this interest in EMSs is in line with the companies’ commitment to responsible care.

4.3 Negotiation of the EA

4.3.1 Motivation

Integrated environmental covenants arose as the result of consultation under the target group approach, as one policy measure for the achievement of the NEPP targets. The declaration from the base metals industry was the first such covenant to be signed, that of the chemical industry, the second. The concept has developed further since the signing of these two covenants.

The NEPP presented an implementation challenge for the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment (VROM). The government considered traditional command and control measures as insufficient for meeting the ambitious NEPP targets (see Section 4.2.1). The covenant evolved as a policy measure through discussions between industry and government.

For industry, the NEPP was a government plan and they were uncertain of their ability to meet the targets set out in it. Negotiations provided them with an opportunity to state their case. However, some companies were uneasy about the prospect of negotiating with government, because of a certain lack of trust due to past experience of regulation (Quik, VNCI).

The EA offers signatory companies greater flexibility in complying with environmental regulations. All companies whose CEP is approved by the licensing authorities benefit from greater flexibility in planning environmental investments and a simplified licensing procedure.

4.3.2 The Negotiation Process

The target group approach allowed for prior consultation between industry and government, which paved the way for the negotiation of a covenant. The staff of VNCI, the Dutch Chemical Industry Association, were given a mandate by their board to negotiate with VROM. The declaration from the base metals industry was signed while the negotiations with the chemical industry were still going on. The government were keen to use the base metals document as a model for the chemical industry agreement. However, the chemical industry insisted on the adaptation of the document and targets to meet its own situation.

The negotiations were discussed mainly by the VNCI working group on Health, Safety and Environment, with backup from technical experts at company level. The targets set under the declaration were circulated to technical experts in the VNCI member companies, as part of a survey on their technical feasibility (the survey did not ask whether the targets were economically feasible).

VNCI were keen to obtain support from a minimum of 80% of their members, through signature of the EA. This was necessary to ensure the credibility of the declaration. With less than 80% commitment, the threat of competition from free-riders would have acted as a deterrent to company participation and compliance. Over 100 VNCI members have signed the agreement or comply with the terms without being signatories. A few American companies were unable to sign, as their US head quarters would not authorise signature. However, these plants (Quik, VNCI, Roozenburg, DCMR) are managed so as to comply with the requirements imposed on signatories to the declaration.

The declaration was recognised by Parliament. However, it remains an agreement between government and industry. Parliament did not have the authority to amend the declaration, although strong parliamentary opposition would have prevented the Minister from signing it and, effectively, forcing changes. Parliament is informed annually of progress under the covenant, and could push for legislation if the EA fails to reach its objectives.

The negotiations took two and a half years to complete and were carried on through a mixture of formal meetings and informal contacts. At times, it was necessary to involve representatives at the highest level, with the direct involvement of the Minister for the Environment on some occasions.

4.4 Structure of EA and the Targets

4.4.1 Signatories and Coverage

The declaration contains the targets to be met collectively by the sector, as established in the NEPP. The declaration is signed by the following parties:

  • the Government: The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment (VROM), the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management;
  • the associations representing the regulators: the Association of Provincial Authorities, the Union of Netherlands Municipalities and the Association of Water Control Boards;
  • industry: the Association of Dutch Chemical Industries (VNCI) and the individual companies.

103 companies are signatories to the declaration, and a total of 114 companies are complying with the terms of the agreement (taking account of plant closures and companies who have opted not to comply). A few American companies were unable to sign, as the head quarters in the US would not authorise signature (it is suggested that this is due to a lack of understanding of the Dutch way of working). However, these plants have managed to comply with the requirements imposed on signatories to the declaration. A few companies have not signed up because they are in the process of renewing their licences. There are a few free-riders, mainly SMEs. The declaration is estimated to cover 97% of total emissions from the Netherlands chemical industry.

4.4.2 Targets and Objectives

An overview of the areas covered in the declaration is provided in Section 4.2.2. As described in the this section, the targets are drawn from the Integrated Environmental Target Plan for the Chemical Industry, based on the NEPP and NEPP plus, as well as other plans covering water and energy issues.

The targets set are quantified and staged, with targets set for certain substances for 1994/1995, 2000 and 2010. The targets are expressed as a percentage reduction over a baseline, usually set as 1985. The figures originally used to establish the baseline given in the declaration have been revised in the light of data provided on the baseline in the individual Company Environmental Plans (CEPs- described in Section 4.5), and aggregated to provide sector level figures. The targets, baseline year and timescale are given in Table 4.2. A number of non-quantified objectives are also included in the agreement.

Unlike the base metals agreement, the chemical industry declaration does not have firm targets for the year 2010. The targets in the declaration are intended as long-term guidelines towards which industry should strive, but which will be reviewed in 1998 in order to set targets which are feasible in the light of new technological developments. Otherwise, the targets in the IETP and, therefore, in the declaration, are the same as those established in the NEPP.

A more detailed review of the objectives and targets is given in Table 4.6, with the year 1992 as a more recent reference point.

4.4.2.1 Climate Change

Quantitative targets are set for ozone depleting substances as covered by the Montreal Protocol (CFCs, halons, 1,1,1-trichloroethane and carbon tetrachloride). For CFCs, for example, the targets are for phasing these out of production in the Netherlands by 1995 (although the date in the Montreal Protocol is 1997). However, this has already been addressed in the Netherlands by the existing CFC action programme. The targets are detailed in Table 4.2.

Targets for carbon dioxide emissions reductions are not included amongst the quantitative targets as these are already covered by an agreement signed by the VNCI with the Ministry of Economic Affairs covering energy -saving measures. This multi-year agreement (MYA) is taken into account in the implementation of the declaration, as energy-savings plans under the MYA are included in the CEPs produced by individual companies.

4.4.2.2 Acidification

Quantitative targets for SO, NOx , NH3 and VOCs (Hydrocarbons) are detailed in the declaration. These are listed in Table 4.2. Although it is not shown in the table, the targets for SO2 and NOx emissions are split into combustion emissions and process emissions.

4.4.2.3 Diffusion

Diffusion covers the dispersion of substances in air and water, and radiation. Quantitative targets are set for 1995, 2000 and 2010, based on the chemical industry’s contribution to the overall targets in the NEPP. These targets are based on an estimation of an acceptable level of risk to be attained by 2000, and a negligible level of risk to be attained by 2010, for a number of priority substances which are hazardous to the environment. As an example, reductions of between 50% and 90% over the base year are set for 2000 (see Table 4.2).

Table 4.2: Targets, Baseline and Timescales for Quantitative Targets in the Dutch Chemical Industry Declaration


Emissions in Base Year (tonnes)


Emissions Targets  (expressed as % of emissions in the base year)


1985

1986

1989

Base year

1995

2000

2010

Climate
1,1,1 - Trichloroethane

77.22

1989



Tetrachloromethane

526.91


1986

...



CFCs

3500.467


1986

...

0


Halons

61.04


1986

...



HCFKs






Methane






Acidification
Sulphur dioxide

30161.65



1985

65*

23

10

Nitrogen oxide

48592.71


33300

1985

57*

40

10

Ammonium

4800.295



1985

...

50

17

Hydrocarbons

36018.64



1985

...

42

20

Dispersion to Atmosphere
1,2-Dichloroethane

805.301



1985

...

10

10

Acrolein

3.2



1985

...

50

10

Acrylonitrile

466.733



1985

...

50

3

Benzene

696.753



1985

...

25

2.5

Chlorobenzenes

157.003



1985

50

30

10

Dichloromethane

2690.9



1985

...

20

10

Dioxenes

3.186



1985

30

30

10

Eth(yl)ene

4181.7



1985

...

50

10

Eth(yl)ene Oxide

176.632



1985

...

50

5

Phenol and Phenolates

28.76



1985

...

50

50

Formaldehyde

144.345



1985

...

50

10

PAKs

20.594



1985

...

20

1

Styreen

1602.349



1985

...

50

40

Tetrachloroeth(yl)ene

98.773



1985

50

10

1

Toluene 1381.257

1985

... 50 10
Trichloroeth(yl)ene 62.6

1985

50 50 50
Trichloromethane 163

1985

... 50 10
Vinyl Chloride 328.79

1985

... 10 10
Flourides 133.379

1985

... 5 1
Carbon Monoxide 20932.97

1985

... 50 10
Hydrogen Sulphide 468.712

1985

... 50 10
Cadmium 0.331

1985

30 30 20
Chromium (vi) 1.65

1985

50 50 10
Copper 1.326

1985

50 50 20
Mercury 1.076

1985

30 30 30
Lead 7.086

1985

30 30 30
Nickel 1.356

1985

50 50 20
Zinc 19.56

1985

50 50 20
Dust (fine) 9760.126

1985

... 25 5
Dispersion to water
1,1,1 Trichloroethane 0.537

1985

50 30 1
1,2 Dichloroethane 30.703

1985

45 45 10
Acrylonitrile 34

1985

... 50 10
Benzene 56.712

1985

40 25 10
Chlorophenoles 0.301

1985

1 1 1
Dichloromethane 137.255

1985

... 50 50
Dioxines (in grams) 1.455

1985

70 50 10
Dithiocarbamates 2

1985

1 1 1
Drins 0.032

1985

10 1 1
Phenol and Phenolates 49.89

1985

... 50 10
Formaldehyde 230.8

1985

... 50 10
Phthalate esters 0.01

1985

... 50 10
Hexachlorobenzene 0.067

1985

15 15 10
Hexachlorobutadienes 0.001

1985

1 1 1
Organic tin compounds 6,83

1985

10 10 10
PAHs 2.463

1985

65 50 10
Styreen 11.135

1985

... 50 10
Tetrachloroeth(yl)ene 0.233

1985

15 15 2
Tetrachloromethane 2.092

1985

15 1 1
Toluene 71.404

1985

... 50 10
Trichlorobenzene 1.331

1985

50 50 10
Trichloroeth(yl)ene 2.078

1985

25 25 5
Trichloromethane 1.451

1985

40 40 10
Arsenic 6.413

1985

50 50 50
Cadmium 14.352

1985

10 10 10
Chromium 81.411

1985

15 15 15
Copper 20.397

1985

50 50 20
Mercury 0.877

1985

75 50 30
Lead 14.509

1985

35 35 30
Nickel 16.606

1985

50 50 20
Zinc 121.463

1985

35 35 20
Oil 305.698

1985

40 40 10
EOCL 100.517

1985

... ... ...
Eutrophication
Nitrogen 8378.929

1985

50 30 25
Phosphate 14685.4

1985

50 25 10

Source: VNCI, 1996

 

* target set for 1994

 

Table 4.4: Target for Proportion of Waste to Be Disposed of by Dumping and Incineration by 2010  


1986

2000

2010

Total (thousand tonnes)

2,421

571

684

Dumping

97%

71%

76%

Incineration

3%

29%

24%

 Source: Declaration of intent on the implementation of environmental policy for the Chemical Industry, 1993

For radiation, the maximum permissible risk level (106 per year) must be achieved as quickly as possible. A more stringent target of a level of 108 must be met by 2010.

4.4.2.4 Eutrophication

Quantitative targets are set for reductions in emissions to water of Nitrogen and Phosphorous (Table 4.2).

Table 4.3: Guide Targets for Waste Treatment and Disposal


1986 (thousand tonnes)

2000 (thousand tonnes)

2010 (thousand tonnes)

Volume of waste

4,004

5,155

6,019

Recycling/useful application

1,583 (40%)



Prevention/ recycling/ useful application

4,584 (89%)

5,704 (89%)

Disposal

2,421 (60%)

571 (11%)

684 (11%)

Source: Declaration of intent on the implementation of environmental policy for the Chemical Industry, 1993

 

4.4.2.5 Waste Disposal

The objectives set for waste disposal are to reduce the overall amount of waste generated by the chemical industry and to shift from dumping to incineration. The declaration (IETP) sets a number of guiding targets shown in Table 4.3.

The declaration goes on to provide targets for the splitting of disposal into dumping and incineration which should be achieved for different waste streams by the years 2000 and 2010. The targets can be summarised into the total targets for dumping and incineration for industrial waste from the chemical sector and are shown in Table 4.4. Specific targets are also set for three priority waste streams: waste containing halogenated hydrocarbons, phosphoric acid gypsum and plastic waste. These are shown in Table 4.5.

Soil protection is also covered under the waste category. Direct emissions to the ground were to be phased out within five years of the start of the agreement. A number of other provisions are mentioned in the declaration, to be covered by special government orders which were to be issued in 1993, under the soil protection act, to cover the main activities which pose a threat to the soil. These would be followed by general rules. The IETP describes also the responsibilities for cleaning up contaminated sites, which is to be governed by a separate Commission on Soil Cleanup of Industrial Sites in Use.

4.4.2.6 Disturbance

This covers noise, odour, external safety and the storage of dangerous substances (Post-Sandoz), again setting objectives and targets as established by existing policy in these areas. However, these are generally met at a local level.

4.4.2.7 Company-Based Environmental Management Systems

The objective was for all chemical industry companies to have integrated environmental management systems by 1995. This was considered to be necessary for the production of the Company Environmental Plans (CEPs) which were to be completed by April 1995 (see Section 4.5).

The agreement includes a number of other provisions, including details on the production of Company Environmental Plans (see Section 4.5) and the role of the relevant authorities. It also states that the government and VNCI will seek harmonisation of environmental policies at an international level.

It is important to note that the agreement stipulates that companies must still apply the Best Available Control Technology and where this, or other existing policies, lead to environmental improvements beyond the requirements of the agreement, companies must not stop at the target set in the agreement.

4.5 Implementation

4.5.1 Sector-Level Co-ordination

A consultative group has been established to oversee the agreements and to monitor progress. The group contains representatives of the licensing authorities (Municipalities, Provinces and Water Boards), the Chemical Industry (represented by VNCI) and the three Ministries which are signatories to the declaration. It does not involves any NGOs or third parties. The consultative group reports annually on progress under the EA. Reports have been published for 1994 and 1995. They cover the consultative group’s activities (including, for example, actions towards the integration of environmental reporting studies which examine international competitiveness/ harmonisation), and the aggregated results from the Company Environmental Plans (CEPs). The declaration and progress reports from the consultative group are available to the public.

4.5.2 Company-Level

The declaration complements existing environmental legislation, including the system of operating licences, which applies to chemical plants. In the case of non-compliance, or for companies not involved in the declaration, the existing licensing system applies.

Each company which is signatory to the declaration must produce a Company Environmental Plan (CEP). The CEP contains data on emissions in the baseline year, and measures to address the different environmental issues covered by the covenant. The CEP is submitted to the appropriate regulatory authorities.

The CEP is drawn up every four years and covers an eight year period. Once a CEP has been approved by the regulatory bodies, it is used as the basis of the application for an operations licence. This has the benefit for the company of simplifying and speeding up the licensing procedures. Companies must report annually on progress on the measures set out in the CEP. The results from the individual CEPs are aggregated to provide a measure of overall progress toward meeting the targets in the declaration. The monitoring conducted by the companies is verified by the regulators, who visit the sites on a regular basis, as they do under the licensing system.

The reports from the companies must be made available to the public and can be obtained by contacting the firms or from the industry association.

Companies are also encouraged to adopt environmental management systems which are seen as necessary for the preparation and required monitoring and reporting of the CEP. It is estimated that a CEP takes 12 to 14 months to prepare. VNCI have established a non-profit-making company called CHEMSERVE, which provides small companies, who do not have the technical staff available in-house, to produce a CEP, with access to free-lance experts (usually made redundant or on early-retirement from the chemical industry) to assist them in the production of the CEP at reasonable rates.

4.5.3 The Role of the Regulators

There are two types of regulatory authorities responsible for issuing operating licences for chemical plants- the water boards and the municipality or province. The province is responsible for large installations, whereas municipalities regulate smaller firms. In the past, separate licences were required for water issues and other environmental issues (air etc.). Of the 126 companies considered to be part of the chemical sector, 87 are regulated by provinces, and 39 by municipalities. There are 28 water boards, 18 of which are involved in the implementation of the EA (FO, 1995).

Under the covenant, these authorities must co-ordinate their licensing procedures. This is generally achieved by the province or municipality establishing contact with the appropriate water board. The water board area boundaries do not necessarily coincide with the province borders.

4.6 Outcome

Two annual reports on progress under the declaration have been published (1994 and 1995). Quantitative data are available on progress towards targets for the following areas: climate change, acidification, dispersion to air and water, eutrophication and waste. Table 4.6 presents progress for 1995 for these areas, excluding waste. Progress in the management of industrial waste for the chemical sector is only available for 1995. These data are presented in Table 4.5.

Progress has also been made in the areas covered by the agreement, including:

Soil Protection: Risk analyses have been carried out for 54 companies on 75 to 100% of their activities. 71 companies have undertaken soil protection measures.

Soil Remediation: Contaminated land inventories have been conducted for 104 companies. Further studies were conducted for 80 companies, revealing that clean-up was required for 64 companies. Clean-up is underway in these companies. 40 have achieved clean-up of up to 25%, 14 have achieved between 25 and 75% and the remaining ten companies have achieved remediation of between 75 and 100%.

Disruption: Noise and odour problems are dealt with on a local basis. The report for 1995 presents results for a section of the companies in the chemical sector. Concerning post-Sandoz, 85 of the 97 companies required to submit plans had done so by 1995. The report also describes the sector's compliance with the Seveso directive.

Integrated Environmental Management Systems: Of the 112 companies that submitted CEPs in 1995, 104 presented a statement of environmental policy and 101 companies have established an environmental management programme. These have been implemented to varying degrees across the companies.

From the data available, the consultative group has concluded that three substances are of particular concern as regards progress towards the 2000 targets. However, this does not imply that all other standards and objectives for 2000 will be met. These substances are NOx, Vinyl Chloride and CO. The CO levels, however, cannot be tackled in practice without raising emissions of CO2. The main obstacle to the achievement of the NOx standard is the high cost of the equipment required to reduce emissions. The consultative committee is beginning to consider the feasibility of target-sharing measures to overcome this barrier.

The emissions reductions achieved so far have been reached relatively easily, although it is not possible to say at present to what extent the progress to date has been the result of incremental changes and end of pipe solutions. There is now a debate on how to stimulate the redesign and innovation required to meet the much more demanding targets for the year 2010. These are likely to present a greater challenge to the chemical industry (van Namen, VNCI). The costs of the agreement to industry have not been quantified for the sector. It is likely that initial costs were faced by companies for the establishment of EMSs and reporting systems, where required. VNCI estimates that a CEP requires at least one man year to prepare. However, for a number of companies, cost savings are likely to arise through increased efficiencies associated with the implementation of EMSs. Also, flexibility in planning investments for environmental improvements is likely to have benefits for companies, by allowing these investments to be better integrated into wider investment plans.

Table 4.5: Progress Towards the Targets Set for Waste Disposal


1986 production (000 tonnes) 1995 production (000 tonnes) Recycling/
re-use (prevention)
in % in 1995 (and in 
000 tonnes)
Target for prevention/ recycling/ re-use by 2000 Remainder
for disposal (after re-use/ recovery)
in 1995
(000 tonnes)
%
incinerated in 1995
Target for incineration
by 2000
Priority Waste Streams
Phosphoric Acid Gypsum 1,976

1,462

n.a.

90%

n.a.

n.a.

0%

Plastic Waste 19

11

63% (7)

76%

4

30%

100%

Halogenated hydro-carbons

50

32

78% (25)

92%

7

99%

100%

Other Processing Waste

n.a.

124

31% (39)

41%

85

92%

33.8%

Other wastes
Fly ash furnace slag

51

43

100% (43)

100%

0

-

-

Other waste/ sludges from environment-al facilities

n.a.

87

4% (4)

14%

83

20%

16%

Total Waste (excluding Phosphoric Acid Gypsum)

737

678

n.a.

n.a.

251

47%

n.a.

Source: FO (1996) Report from the Consultative Group for 1995


n.a.: no data available

 

The consultative group has also been involved in activities to integrate environmental reporting requirements under different plans and policies, including the CEP, to reduce the cost of administration to industry.

The costs to the regulators are unlikely to change significantly, although the role of the inspectors has altered, with more emphasis on working with industry and assessing companies' plans for investment in environmental improvements, to allow more flexibility.

Although the realisation of the targets was the primary benefit for the government, there have been a number of spin-offs identified by the parties interviewed, including:

  • increased trust between the chemical industry and the regulators and policy makers, where relations had been more difficult in the past;
  • greater communication and co-operation within the industry, with better ongoing information (rather than studies providing information on one point in time) on the situation in the industry.
  • greater confidence in their work.

VROM indicate that the use of covenants has resulted in an entirely new approach to environmental policy-making and regulation.

Table 4.6: Environmental Assessment for the Dutch Chemical Industry Association Against the 1992 Reference Point and the Baseline


Environmental Assessment

Environmental Issue/Pollutant

Reference situation Emissions in 1992

Trend/Baseline (trend based on reductions in 1985-1992)

Current Situation in 1995 Emissions (tonnes)

Environmental Improvement (tonnes)

Environmental Effectiveness (tonnes)

Climate
1,1,1 - Trichloroethane

28,85

0,00

1,58

-27,26

1,58

Tetrachloromethane

200,71

37,61

158,61

-42,11

121,00

CFCs

1779,16

918,51

60,65

-1718,51

-857,86

Halons

5,79

0,00

1,51

-4,28

1,51

Acidification
Sulphur dioxide

14253,06

7435,10

10992,62

-3260,44

3557,53

Nitrogen oxidea

28003,15

19179,06

25754.17

-2248.98

6575.12

Ammonium

2534,54

1563,50

2617,55

83,01

1054,05

Hydrocarbons

20135,51

13328,45

15196,52

-4938,99

1868,07

Dispersion to Atmosphere
1,2-Dichloroethane

246,92

7,62

123,86

-123,06

116,24

Acrolein

3,20

3,20

0,95

-2,25

-2,25

Acrylonitrile

80,04

0,00

70,10

-9,95

70,10

Benzene

204,94

0,00

143,61

-61,34

143,61

Chlorobenzenes

110,40

90,43

30,31

-80,09

-60,11

Dichloromethane

535,80

0,00

452,66

-83,15

452,66

Dioxins

2,08

1,60

1,74

-0,33

0,14

Eth(yl)ene

1429,55

250,06

1393,10

-36,45

1143,04

Eth(yl)ene Oxide

73,18

28,84

37,94

-35,24

9,10

Phenol and Phenolates

20,39

16,80

7,03

-13,36

-9,77

Formaldehydea

63,60

28,99

14.40

-49.20

-14.59

PAKs

47,93

59,65

37,69

-10,24

-21,96

Styreen

755,73

392,89

577,84

-177,89

184,95

Tetrachloroeth(yl)ene

2,07

0,00

0,45

-1,63

0,45

Toluene

625,73

301,93

457,33

-168,40

155,39

Trichloroeth(yl)ene

29,10

14,74

11,10

-18,00

-3,64

Trichloromethane

34,20

0,00

29,60

-4,60

29,60

Vinyl Chloride

82,29

0,00

75,07

-7,23

75,07

Fluorides

101,72

88,16

39,45

-62,27

-48,70

Carbon Monoxide

24873,16

26561,81

31814,74

6941,58

5252,92

Hydrogen Sulphide

245,51

149,85

196,53

-48,98

46,68

Cadmium

0,22

0,17

0,07

-0,15

-0,10

Chromium (vi)

1,52

1,47

0,18

-1,35

-1,29

Copper

1,27

1,24

0,76

-0,51

-0,49

Mercury

0,78

0,65

0,41

-0,37

-0,24

Lead

4,84

3,88

1,09

-3,75

-2,79

Nickela

1,55

1,63

0.25

-1.30

-1.38

Zinc

5,39

0,00

4,78

-0,61

4,78

Dust (fine)

3429,78

716,77

2393,25

-1036,53

1676,47

Dispersion to water
1,1,1 Trichloroethane

0,37

0,30

0,09

-0,28

-0,21

1,2 Dichloroethane

6,08

0,00

1,33

-4,74

1,33

Acrylonitrile

26,12

22,74

0,05

-26,07

-22,69

Benzene

23,72

9,58

0,51

-23,22

-9,08

Chlorophenols

0,11

0,03

0,00

-0,11

-0,03

Dichloromethane

10,16

0,00

1,73

-8,43

1,73

Dioxins (in grammes)

0,99

0,79

0,31

-0,67

-0,47

Dithiocarbamates

0,10

0,00

0,00

-0,10

0,00

Drins

0,00

0,00

0,00

0,00

0,00

Phenol and Phenolates

8,84

0,00

1,19

-7,65

1,19

Formaldehyde

81,80

17,94

38,67

-43,13

20,73

Phthalate esters

0,01

0,01

0,01

0,00

0,00

Hexachlorobenzene

0,00

0,00

0,00

0,00

0,00

Hexachlorobutadienes

0,00

0,00

0,00

0,00

0,00

Organic tin compounds

0,08

0,00

0,03

-0,05

0,03

PAHs

2,71

2,81

0,03

-2,68

-2,78

Styreen

2,24

0,00

0,41

-1,83

0,41

Tetrachloroeth(yl)ene

0,23

0,23

0,08

-0,16

-0,16

Tetrachloromethane

0,38

0,00

0,18

-0,20

0,18

Toluene

26,88

7,80

0,73

-26,15

-7,07

Trichlorobenzene

0,21

0,00

0,00

-0,21

0,00

Trichloroeth(yl)ene

1,45

1,19

0,40

-1,06

-0,79

Trichloromethane

0,95

0,74

0,60

-0,35

-0,14

Arsenic

1,67

0,00

0,70

-0,97

0,70

Cadmium

1,26

0,00

0,48

-0,78

0,48

Chromium

8,08

0,00

5,07

-3,01

5,07

Copper

5,59

0,00

6,27

0,68

6,27

Mercury

0,34

0,11

0,20

-0,14

0,09

Lead

5,07

1,03

5,20

0,13

4,17

Nickel

8,03

4,36

4,95

-3,08

0,59

Zinc

41,09

6,64

22,38

-18,71

15,74

Oil

140,93

70,31

22,17

-118,76

-48,14

EOCL

22,02

0,00


-22,02

0,00

Eutrophication
Nitrogen

4462,64

2784,24

2402,32

-2060,32

-381,92

Phosphate

4104,25

0,00

3024,71

-1079,54

3024,71

Source: Data taken from the Annual Environment Report of the Chemical Industry for 1995, VNCI 1996, and from the FO annual report for 1995, published by the Consultative Committee in 1996.


1 Based on reference situation – emissions in 1992
2 Estimate based on rate of emissions reduction between 1985 and 1992, for all pollutants except climate change pollutants, where estimate is based on improvements between 1989 and 1992 for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, and 1986 and 1992 for tetrachloromethane, CFCs and Halons.
a For emissions to air of NOx, Formaldehyde and Nickel, the emissions for the companies covered by the declaration do not correspond to the emissions from VNCI companies, as they are influenced by companies which are not members of VNCI. For these three substances, the emissions figures from VNCI have been adapted using the information on progress under the agreement from the consultative committee’s annual report for 1995.

 

4.7 Assessment of Effectiveness

4.7.1. Environmental Assessment

4.7.1.1 The Reference Situation

The base year used for the quantitative emissions reduction targets in the EA is 1985 (with the exception of climate change pollutants, for which 1986 and 1989 data are used). However, emissions data are also available for 1992 and this provides a better reference point for assessing the effectiveness of the EA, which was adopted in 1993, as it excludes changes in emissions which occurred before the EA.

The baseline for the targets set for waste management is 1986, and this provides the only reference point data. No data are available for 1992.

4.7.1.2 The Baseline

Business as Usual

Estimating a true baseline to take account of the likely situation in the absence of the EA is not possible because:

  • the baseline should cover legislation on a wide range of environmental issues and pollutants.
  • there is insufficient information on the environmental improvement which can be attributed directly to all the existing legislation.

However, using data on emissions from the base year used in the EA (1985, 1986 or 1989) and from 1992, it is possible to establish a rough trend that can be used as an indication of expected changes in emissions in the absence of the EA.

4.7.1.3 Environmental Improvement and Effectiveness

The assessment has been conducted against both the reference situation and the estimated baseline. Waste management is an exception, as data are only available for 1986 so the assessment of progress can only be made against this reference point.

The results of the assessment are shown in Table 4.6. The figures highlighted in bold indicate pollutants for which actual emissions for 1995 (under the EA) are below those achieved in 1992 and lower than those for the estimated baseline.

To summarise:

  • There has been an environmental improvement (against the reference situation): The environmental assessment reveals that there have been reductions in emissions since 1992 for all except four pollutants: atmospheric emissions of carbon monoxide and ammonium, and emissions to water of copper and lead.
  • Furthermore, environmental effectiveness can be claimed, since the assessment against the baseline suggests that the EA has resulted in emissions reductions, for 33 of the 61 pollutants covered, above the level which could be expected on the basis of past emissions reductions.

 

However, it is important to note that the baseline reflects the historic trend in emissions reductions. It does not seek to reflect the effects of individual pieces of legislation or tighter standards for certain pollutants, such as regulations on ozone depleting substances and NOx process emissions from the fertiliser industry, which are considered to be important in meeting the targets set (Biekart, 1997, Personal Communication).

 

Those areas where significant improvements had been made between 1985 and 1992 may perform badly against this rough baseline because of difficulties in achieving additional improvements beyond those already obtained. This may be the case for acidification and climate change pollutants. The assessment may also overestimate the effectiveness of the EA for pollutants where little abatement efforts had been made between 1985 and 1992.

It is important to note that this assessment is based on emissions reductions achieved within two years of the establishment of the EA. The targets for 1995 covered 40 of the 61 pollutants prioritised by the agreement. The signatories believe there will be a problem in achieving three of the targets set for 2000: those for vinyl chloride, NOx and CO.

Assessment of improvements in waste management against the 1986 reference point, and of progress towards the targets set for 2000 for waste reduction and the adoption of incineration as opposed to dumping as the preferred disposal option, is given in Table 4.5 (in Section 4.6).

The data available for 1995 demonstrates the following:

  • a reduction in waste production for all the waste streams covered by the agreement (of between 4% and 78%);
  • progress towards meeting the targets set for waste prevention and re-use by the year 2000;
  • an increase in the proportion of disposal by incineration, through a reduction in dumping;
  • three of the four targets set for the switch from dumping to incineration for the year 2000 had almost been achieved or had been exceeded by 1995, and progress had been made on the incineration of plastic waste.

4.7.2 Assessment Against Wider Impacts

4.7.2.1 Cost-Effectiveness

The increased flexibility for companies under the EA allows planning of environmental improvements to fit in better with the companies’ investment plans, thus reducing the costs of the investments to individual firms.

The integrated approach to environmental improvement under the EA leads to better prioritisation of environmental measures by firms. It also requires co-operation between the two licensing authorities (the regional authority/ municipality and the water board) and reduces the costs for firms of obtaining an operating licence.

The EA includes the wider objective of increasing the use of environmental management systems. This will lead to environmental improvements through changes in management practices and may lead to cost savings through increased efficiency.

The monitoring committee is looking into the feasibility of a tradable permits scheme for NOx. If established this would lead to target-sharing between the companies in the EA, which would reduce the overall costs of reducing NOx emissions.

4.7.2.2 Other Outcomes

The Chemical Industry Declaration was the second covenant to be signed under the Target Group approach adopted to implement the NEPP. It has provided valuable lessons for the actors involved, especially the government.

The EA, by promoting increased trust and co-operation between the parties, has allowed a greater exchange of information, so that government and the regulators are better informed of the situation in industry and of the potential for further environmental improvements. This information may be useful for the development of future policy measures.

The increased flexibility for companies allows planning of environmental improvements to fit in better with the company’s investment plans and so reduces the costs of the investments to industry.

There has been no evidence of target-sharing between companies to date (although there has been some flexibility over improvements at different sites operated by the same company). However, the actors are looking into the feasibility of a tradable permits scheme for signatories on NOx.

The Declaration is thought by industry representatives to have resulted mainly in incremental improvements to date, although there is no quantitative research available to back up this impression. There is an ongoing debate in the Netherlands on how best to bring about the large innovation/ re-design required to meet the more ambitious targets set out in the NEPP for the year 2010. However, the EA has demonstrated that the introduction of greater flexibility between producers and regulation will provide for a more cost-effective response than under the conventional operation of the licensing system.

There is no evidence that the Declaration is damaging to competitiveness, although the consultative committee has commissioned a study to investigate the effects of environmental policy on the competitiveness of Dutch industry at the EU level. The existence of long-term targets and objectives and the good relationship between industry and the regulator, may even come to be seen as a (fair) competitive advantage for the Netherlands.

4.8 The Future

As the implementation of the declaration progresses, the main signatories are keen for the CEP to move away from the structure of the traditional licence application and become a strategic document for the company. Already the CEPs are becoming less cumbersome.

The consultative committee is establishing a system of integrated environmental reporting for companies under the declaration to reduce the administrative burden on companies, by adopting a format that can be used to report on progress on the CEP, and for reports required under a variety of other environmental initiatives in place in the Netherlands.

Mechanisms for target-sharing, as discussed above, will be considered. This may result in tradable permit schemes for NOx and SO2, depending on the results of feasibility studies and the reaction of the companies in the agreement.

  • Initial meetings on the new round of negotiations (to start in May 1997) will begin early in 1997, for the second round of CEPs. These are likely to cover:
  • increased co-operation and target-sharing between companies;
  • efficiency of resource use;
  • a more strategic approach for the second round of CEPs;
  • the possibility of process re-design in the chemical sector, as more innovative approaches will be required to meet the targets for 2010.

4.9 Conclusions

The quantitative assessment suggests that the EA has contributed to bringing about emissions reductions for 33 of 61 priority pollutants, beyond those that could be expected (from historic trends) in its absence. Government and industry believe that these improvements are being achieved at less cost to industry than would have occurred under conventional regulations. Improvements have also been achieved since 1986 in waste management, with progress towards the targets in the agreement. Improvements have also occurred during the life of the EA in other environmental areas. However, the data does not allow an assessment of the extent to which this progress is due to the EA or other policy instruments.

The targets set under the EA for 2010 will present a greater challenge to the chemical industry. A debate has begun on how to stimulate the redesign and innovation required to meet these more demanding targets.

4.10 Information Sources

Public Authorities Industry Association
Drs M M de Hoog (I)

Ministry of Housing
Spatial Planning and the Environment

Mr Quik (I)

Technical Director
VNCI
Netherlands Confederation of Chemical Industries

Mr Bakker (I)

RIZA
Ministry of Transport and Water Works

Mr van Namen (I)

VNCI
Netherlands Confederation of Chemical Industries

Mr Jan Roozenburg (I)

DCMR
Association of Provinces

Non Governmental Organisations
I = Interview, T = Telephone Mr Jan Willem Biekart (I)

Stichtig Natuur en Millieu (SNM)

 

References

Arthur D. Little, 1996, Sustainable Industrial Development: Sharing Responsibilities in a Competitive World, February, Netherlands.

Bastmeijer, K., 1996, The Covenant as an Instrument of Environmental Policy in the Netherlands: A Case Study for the OECD/PUMA, April, The Netherlands.

Bastmeijer C.J., 1994, Provisional Code of conduct for concluding environmental covenants, VROM.

Biekart, J., 1995, Environmental Covenants Between Government and Industry: A Dutch NGO’s Experience, Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, 4(2).

Biekart, J. W., 1996, Dutch NGO-Experiences with Negotiated Agreements.

Biekart, J.W., 1996, Green Groups: New Instruments as Panacea or Pandora’s Box a Negotiated Agreements, paper prepared for the book ‘New Instruments for Environmental Protection in the European Union’, edited by Jonathan Golub of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, to be published by Routledge Publishers in summer 1997.

Consultative Group (1995). Annual Report on Progress for 1994.

ERM, 1996, International Comparison of Environmental Controls on Industry, August, Netherlands.

Europe Environment, 1994, Voluntary Approaches and Sustainable Development, Working Paper for the European Commission, No 445, 20 December.

FO industrie, 1995, Declaration of intent to implement environmental policy in the chemical industry, Consultative Group for the Chemical Industry, Annual Report 1994, The Hague (English).

FO industrie, 1996, Declaration of intent to implement environmental policy in the chemical industry, Consultative Group for the Chemical Industry, Annual Report 1995, The Hague (Dutch).

Ingram V.J., 1996, An Environment for Consensus; Negotiated Agreements in Environmental Policy MSc thesis, Imperial College.

Moons, C.M., 1996, Cooperation between Industries and Government, May 23, Brussels.

State of the Netherlands, 1993, Declaration of intent on the implementation of environmental policy for the chemical industry, 2 April, The Hague.

Suurland, J., 1994, Voluntary Agreements with Industry: The Case of Dutch Covenants, European Environment, Vol.4(4), 3-7 August.

VNCI, 1996, Milieuprofiel – Chemische industrie ‘95, published by the VNCI, September 1996.

*: The case study was revised by Jan Willem Biekart (Netherlands Society for Nature and  Environment, Utrecht)

   




 

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