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Heinz Haller is executive vice president and president of Dow Europe, Middle East, Africa and India, Dow Chemical.
In the chemical industry, we are proud to be central to these efforts – not just doubling our own energy efficiency since 1990, but creating solutions for others to use in reducing emissions, including high strength materials for wind turbine blades, components for solar power, efficient insulation for buildings and many energy storage innovations.
Our industry’s efforts are at the heart of Europe’s vision of sustainable economic growth. Our products save nearly three times as much CO2 during their lifetime as we emit for their manufacture. Yet our ability to continue supporting this vision in Europe is at risk because our competitiveness is threatened by an ever-more complex and costly regulatory burden.
It goes without saying that regulation can help to safeguard public health and the environment. But if it is not well designed, it can also stifle innovation, drive up costs, erode competitiveness and overwhelm even the most well run of companies. European Commission numbers show that in 2004, there were 940 pieces of regulation impacting the chemical industry.
Within eight years this had increased to 1,724, an increase of almost 100 new pieces of regulation per year. Commission figures also show that the cost of regulation for our industry has doubled over the same period – to the point at which it outstrips annual R&D spending. This avalanche of regulation shows no signs of abating and it is seriously damaging our industrial performance and future growth.
Investment leakage damages Europe