Technology presents both opportunities for, and threats to, the environment. In the battle against climate change, clean technology offers solutions for producing low or zero carbon energy, such as photovoltaics and other forms of renewable energy including wind, wave and tidal. Technology can also offer innovative solutions for dealing with the increasing amount of waste that society generates. We have experience of advising developers of and investors in environmental technologies and understand the policies and legislation driving their development, at international, EU and national level.
Although technology has done much to improve quality of life, waste electrical and electronic equipment poses a serious risk to the environment and human health if not managed properly. The European Union has adopted a "producer responsibility" approach in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, which imposes legal obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors. In addition, the Restriction on the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive bans the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. These Directives have now both been enacted in national legislation across the EU.
The practical application of these producer responsibility laws is complex and the commercial risks of non-compliance are high. Non-compliant products can be excluded from EU markets and regulators may use criminal sanctions to ensure compliance. Even though the stakes are high, this is a developing area of law and while it develops not all the requirements and obligations on business are easy to implement. We can offer practical, commercial advice which will ensure that your business complies with these laws, and have experience of dealing with regulators to clarify areas where uncertainties persist.