WEEE, CAFE, RoHS and REACH: these are some of the headline acronyms that stand for Europe’s response to growing environmental concerns. Companies from all sectors of the economy are heavily affected by a highly complex set of EU and Member State rules to protect the environment, from the automotive sector to aviation, semiconductors as well as life sciences, chemicals and energy, electronic consumer goods just as much as the food sector, and insurance companies as well as investors. Environmental policy decisions taken by EU and Member State legislators and regulators impact the competitiveness of European exports and affect imports into Europe from all around the world. They create business opportunities for clean tech and other companies; inform research and development strategies and product development decisions; and influence investment decisions by financial and strategic investors. A thorough understanding of EU environmental, waste and chemicals regulation has become indispensable for all businesses that produce, import or invest in the EU.
Our European Environment, Waste and Chemicals practice helps you navigate through the rules relevant to your business. Working for a diverse group of corporate clients from the chemicals, biotech, seed, food, electronics, aviation, automotive and many other industries as well as for trade associations and government institutions, we have a proven track record in this field. We have years of experience dealing with environmental product content restrictions and environmental and waste management issues, including end-of-life product responsibility, cross-border waste shipment, mining waste, collection and recycling, biocides and cosmetics regulation and nature conservation rules. We regularly advise clients on matters under the EU’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (the WEEE Directive) and the hazardous substances directive (the RoHS Directive). Our lawyers have been involved with the EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (the REACH Regulation) from its earliest stages, representing European and non-European chemical federations in the elaboration of the legislation itself, and have advised on the implementation of the REACH Regulation.
Environmental issues are rarely limited to one jurisdiction and frequently intertwined with complex political, social and economic interests. Our clients therefore often face complex legal issues, the need to decide on appropriate business responses and make strategic choices. In addition to our knowledge of the rules, we offer our clients the established strengths in EU policy and legislative advocacy of our public policy and legal strategy team, and our clients benefit from the integration of our European environmental, waste and chemicals team into a global interdisciplinary practice of 20 environmental lawyers. Our global team has substantial expertise advising companies on how best to position themselves in light of globally intensifying environmental issues in Europe, the US and China. Moreover, as changes to environmental, waste and chemicals rules often have effects throughout the entire supply and distribution chain of our clients and require responses from them at many levels, our environmental lawyers work closely with our other EU practices related to energy and climate change, life sciences, food, nutrition and cosmetics, as well as the firm’s corporate, Intellectual Property Counseling and Prosecution and Antitrust and Competition practices. Learn more about our global Energy, Environment and Natural Resources practice.