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SOME ASPECTS OF PREVENTING ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF PRODUCTS DEMANDING MORE RESPONSIBILITY
 
13.09.2011 15:10
Автор: Oleksandra Chornous, Candidate of Juridical Sciences, research worker, Koretsky Institute of State and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
[Екологічне право. Земельне право. Аграрне право]
In the international treaties the right for everyone to a safe and healthy environment and for compensation for damages inflicted as a result of the violation of this right is established.  An obligation of producers not to harm nature and to compensate for any damage that may be inflicted due to faults in the products is also agreed upon. As a result of acceptance of such treaties, providing environmental safety became a high priority of public policies in signatory countries. At the same time, there are some states that did not sign international treaties with environmental   requirements but they play significant role in the international trade relations and cause environmental pollution both in the process of production and during a whole life cycle of product, including use and disposal of the product as a waste.
A great number of questions remain unanswered in this sphere. Particularly, one of the important tasks in environmental improvement of production is related to handling wastes, their recycling and re-use. It is obvious that it is still necessary to develop legislation on peculiarities of utilization of certain types of wastes, especially electronic products waste. Particularly, one burning issue now is about production, use and disposal as waste of products that can cause “diffuse pollution”. They require special attention due to their features since they spread very fast, in unpredictable amount and are harmful for environment.
Another highly discussed question in this sphere is about environmental requirements of buyer (consumer, importer) to seller (producer, supplier): mainly, about obligation of producer to give environmental information about product (its quality and disposal as waste at the post-consumer stage of a products life cycle). The market with products with negative environmental results often fails to work efficiently, primarily because of the problems of moral hazard that leads to an inefficient allocation of resources in the market and asymmetric information (when information between buyers and sellers about goods is not equally shared). “In essence, a market is an information system. If this information is less than perfect, market failure will result” [1]. On the one hand, producers\sellers should act in the best interests of the consumers\buyers according to the moral rules and environmental legislation. On the other hand, producers\sellers have to act in their own interests motivated, first of all, by profit. Therefore, the behavior of producers\sellers should be controlled by a system of licensing and standardization and regulated, in whole, by legal provisions about producers’ and importers’ responsibility for the environmental effects of their products.
Another controversial point is weak or lacking standards of environmental quality and safety of products in the national legislation of specific countries. Altogether, as a result of weak legal positions, loopholes in the legislation and imperfect control (due to corruption and some other factors), consequences are harmful for environment. It is a well-known fact that the environment does not have boundaries. These questions have international and inter-branch issues and have to be solved jointly with the help of all the states and professionals in law and economy. Some of aforesaid rules exist in legal written form (for example, environmental requirements in World Trade Organisation Agreements or certification to international environmental standards such as ISO14001).  Others exist only on moral grounds (for instance, participation of company in government-sponsored voluntary programs).
Recently, the legal regulation in this sphere has become a significant issue due to the development of market relations, such as integration of new members to the European Community.  In addition, states actively collaborate in international trade and become members of international organizations such as the World Trade Organization. Considerable attention has begun to be focused on the issue of meeting world standards of quality and safety by domestic products and the ecologizations of producers’ activity. Particularly, World Trade Organization  recognizes sustainable development as the central principle which is reflected in such basic World Trade Organization instruments as the Marakesh Agreement establishing World Trade organization (15 April, 1995) [2] and the Doha Ministerial declaration (14 November, 2001) [3]. The achievement of sustainable development requires integration of economic, environmental and social components at all levels. The task may be achieved only by continuous dialogue and action in global partnership, focusing on the key sustainable development issues such as, for instance, protection of environment, economic and social development. The above described measures will assist in the development of the environmental entrepreneurship (an entrepreneurial activity which is carried out for the preservation of the environment and ensuring the environmental human rights) that is realized in the forms of waste conversion, environmental audit, eco-labeling etc.
One of the basic criterions in the assessment by the international community of any national industrial complex is resource conservation.  That is the introduction of resource-saving, energy-saving, and ecologically clean technologies. To achieve these, it is necessary to stimulate ecological activity and to make favorable conditions for investments in this sphere.
Financial incentive for business entities may be achieved, for example, by means of introducing, (in addition to the existing economic instruments charges and payments for pollution, ecological funds,  penalties, etc.) regulation of nature management such as: different types of tax exemptions, credits and loans on favourable terms, flexible system of ecological taxes, material incentives for the ecologization of production activity, differentiation of pricing (taking into account the environmental criterion) etc. The introduction of financial incentives for business will encourage higher ecological standards in production and economic activity in developed and developing countries.
In general, environmental improvement of production is associated with innovations. Innovative strategy in industrial development must be carried out on the basis of a combination of scientific and technological advancement, production, and finance. Particularly, one of the important pre-conditions of the growing competitive possibilities of the national industrial production and acceleration on this basis of its integration into the world economic system is the creation of conditions for the effective use of the scientific potential. The increased role of the state in implementation of innovative model for industrial development is important too. Thus, it is necessary to more extensively use the national scientific and technical developments and novel results of fundamental and applied researches, as well as to introduce the resource-saving and energy saving and ecologically clean technologies, to develop and implement the system of control over the quality and safety of products. As a result, environmental innovations in production and economical activity are directed in the first place at the improvement of the quality of people’s life.
Unfortunately, most legal provisions from national legislation remain in the status of recommendations and do not lead to solution of any problems in this sphere. In addition to legal acts, there is need for an effective mechanism of state administration and control as well as analysis and use of the experience of other countries in solving those problems. Moreover, it should be noted that compliance with environmental legislation gives an incentive to the stable functioning of the producers in the long run and, on the more global scale, promotes stable economic and social development of the states. This results in the environmental safety in all its aspects and directions: regarding both the human health and the environment.

Literature:
1.    Introduction to Economics. Stephen Dobson, Susan Palfreman. Oxford. 1999. – p.135.
2.    Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization of April 15, 1994 // Official web site of the WTO: http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/04-wto_e.htm
3.    Ministerial declaration of 14 November 2001, Doha, Qatar // Official web site of the WTO: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/min01_e/mindecl_e.htm
Looks also: WTO. Environment- sustainable development // http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/envir_e/sust_dev_e.htm
4.    Looks also: Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (June 16, 1972); Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (June 13, 1992); Convention on Biological Diversity (June 5, 1992); Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Montreal, January 20, 2000); Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (Basel, March 22, 1989); General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (October 30, 1947); Official web site of the UNEP: http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/waste/page/2872.aspx


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