THE IMPACT OF EC ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMMES AND LEGISLATION ON EMPLOYMENT 1
The introduction of policies to improve the environmental performance of industry is a continuing, albeit uneven process. Its progress is largely dependent upon business cycles and the perception and identification of environmental problems. The increase in environmental legislation and programmes inevitably affects the economy overall and influences the number and type of employment opportunities offered by industry.
Traditional views hold that environmental programmes reduce employment, causing investment to be directed away from those opportunities offering the best return. More recently, the emphasis on ‘sustainability’ implies that unless the environmental impacts of industrial activity are reduced to manageable and acceptable limits such activity cannot be sustained and the survival of individual companies will be jeopardised.
This chapter does not comment on these two positions, but reports on some of the direct linkages between environmental policy and employment opportunity and, in particular, examines the role of European Commission (EC) legislation and programmes. The EC is generally regarded as having been a major catalyst for change and continues to exert a strong influence on the formation of environmental policy and of the frameworks within which subsequent environmental impacts are evaluated.
This chapter examines the following areas: