Legislation and voluntary standards schemes and their potential effects on environmental employment
Rita Raum Degrève
The EU Fifth Environmental Programme ‘Towards Sustainability’ aims to create a new interplay between the main groups of actors (authorities, enterprises, public) and industry through the use of an extended and integrated range of instruments that should allow for the integration of the requirements for competitiveness and the environment.
A successful strategy for integration needs to be based on the dual approach of high environmental standards combined with incentives to improve performance continually according to economic and environmental standards.
Initial reactions against measures taken by public authorities to reduce the environmental impact of industries tended to concentrate on the immediate costs compared with the less tangible benefits and a partial view of the situation possibly resulting in losses in competitiveness. Nevertheless, implementation of clean and low waste processes, products and services has progressively emerged as a key factor of industrial competitiveness. The environmental dimension has to be integrated in a progressive, responsible and constructive manner.
Therefore, the management of human resources must respond to the challenge of turning environmental concern into competitive advantage by bringing together the necessary skills to manage the integration process successfully.