Tricky issues raised by EC eco-auditing proposal

Conflicting views on how and by whom environmental statements prepared by companies under the proposed EC Regulation on eco-auditing should be subject to external verification were aired during a House of Lords inquiry in November. Concerns about the liability of verifiers also emerged into the open, while the chemical industry put up a determined if confused case for keeping the findings of companies' environmental audits out of the public domain.

The inquiry was carried out by the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities. It began and ended in November because the Committee hopes to report before the EC Regulation is agreed. This could be as early as the Environment Council in mid-December.

Issued in March after a turbulent 15-month gestation, the proposal will enable manufacturing firms to elect voluntarily to participate in the eco-auditing scheme. Those choos

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