Press release

‘No time to waste’ – ClientEarth lawyers call for action on the ground as key environmental laws approved

24 April 2024

In its final week of lawmaking before the EU elections, the European Parliament today has given its final seal of approval on several key environmental laws.

Members of the European Parliament have green-lighted new rules to protect people’s health against toxic air, reduce packaging and packaging waste, and tighten supply chain due diligence. Lawmakers have also voted in favour of the EU exiting the Energy Charter Treaty.

Lawyers at ClientEarth are calling on decision-makers to now turn their attention to implementing and enforcing the approved laws to urgently address the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises.

Reacting to the laws voted through by the European Parliament, Anaïs Berthier, Head of ClientEarth’s Brussels office said: “The Parliament’s approval of these laws is critical for the EU’s fight against the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises. These laws set the foundation for safeguarding people’s health, respecting and protecting our environment, and curbing key activities that are fuelling climate change.

“Getting these laws over the line has, in some cases, come at significant costs, but what is important now is applying them and ensuring that they result in real action on the ground. For these laws to work in practice, there need to be enough resources, capacity, and the right investments to enforce them.

“We can either continue with business as usual – or worse, deregulate –  and condemn people’s health, the environment and our economy to a grim future – or we can put society and the environment at the centre of EU decision-making to preserve people’s rights. The outcome of the next elections will determine which of these paths we take.”

Vote on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) and the vote for the EU to exit the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT)

Following the vote to back the CSDDD and the vote in favour of the EU exiting the ECT, ClientEarth lawyer Amandine Van Den Berghe said: “Despite the 11th-hour butchering of the law’s scope, the due diligence rules still remain one of the best chances we have at changing business for the benefit of people and the planet.

“We know from disasters like the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory how important it is that companies take responsibility for environmental harm and human rights abuses in their value chains. It’s now critical this law is properly implemented, enforced and reviewed at the earliest opportunity to plug its many loopholes.

“Today’s vote in favour of the CSDDD and the EU’s exit from the Energy Charter Treaty sends a very clear signal that major polluters can no longer act with impunity and expect protections for fuelling the climate and environmental crises.”

Vote on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)

Responding to the Parliament’s vote to support the PPWR, ClientEarth lawyer Tatiana Luján said: “Plastic packaging and waste is growing exponentially, with no infrastructure – including recycling – able to cope with the sheer volume of it. This translates into hugely damaging impacts to our environment and our own health.

“That’s why we needed a sweeping regulation like the one adopted today to finally turn the tide. But whether we do indeed turn the tide will depend on each Member State’s implementation and enforcement of the regulation. There’s no time to waste.”

Vote on the Ambient Air Quality Directive (AAQD)

In response to the approval of the AAQD, ClientEarth lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “Today, lawmakers have voted through a once-in-a-generation law that sets new standards to protect people’s health from dirty air. This law is paramount to protect people from dangerous levels of air pollution and to hold governments to account when they fail to act.

“This European Parliament has done its part to secure this new clean air law, but the work to turn words into action must now begin. We now need to see public authorities across the EU take concrete action to implement the law so that the bloc’s most vulnerable inhabitants can finally breathe healthy air.”


Notes to editors:

Visit ClientEarth’s EU elections page and read ClientEarth’s manifesto for future EU law makers.

ClientEarth is calling on people to stand for a new legal approach for a thriving EU by signing ClientEarth's pledge, urging EU leaders to prioritise the protection of people and the planet.

About ClientEarth

ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.