environmental reporting

By Jörn Kassow and Eun-Kyung Lee

On June 9, 2017, the European Commission (EC) published its Action Plan to Streamline Environmental Reporting (COM(2017) 312), summarising the findings of its review of reporting requirements following the 2015 ‘Better Regulation Initiative.’

As part of this 2015 Initiative, the EC carried out a fitness check focused on assessing environmental reporting and monitoring. While environmental as well as regulatory monitoring and reporting provide essential facts for informed decision-making and implementation review, the EC acknowledges the need to balance the demand for better information with the related costs for Member States and businesses. The estimated cost of reporting obligations — solely for the authorities involved — amounts to approximately €22 million a year.

In its recently published action plan, the EC summarised the findings of its fitness check and outlined a roadmap for action. In summary, the EC found that there is room for improvement, particularly in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and coherence of reporting obligations. The EC also concluded that the content of environmental reporting could focus more on strategic, quantitative, and regulation-driven information, e.g., by using key indicators to reduce the amount of textual information currently requested.