Voluntary environmental agreements: Sectoral covenants in the Netherlands

The UK Government is looking increasingly to industry to develop voluntary environmental improvement programmes. The Dutch authorities tend to wave more of the stick and less of the carrot when seeking voluntary agreements from industry. The latest such initiative is a series of sectoral covenants aimed not only at curbing pollution, but also at issues such as energy efficiency and waste reduction which are difficult to tackle by conventional regulatory methods.

The past few months have been crucial for industrial pollution control policy in the Netherlands. But following many hesitations and postponements, it now seems certain that a specially formed foundation representing most of the 31 businesses in the basic metal industry will sign an environmental covenant with the Ministry of the Environment (VROM) in March. If it does so, it will give effect to the "Doelgroepoverleg" - or Target Group Consult

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