Campaigners warn European Commission not to abandon hazardous chemical exports commitments made in EU Green Deal

October 18, 2022

Responding to the European Commission’s 2023 work programme, which was published today and makes no mention of the promised restriction on the trade of hazardous chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the EU, SumOfUs campaigner Eoin Dubsky said:

“The European Commission promised as part of the EU Green Deal in 2020 to ensure that hazardous chemicals banned in the EU are not produced for export. Two years later, and they haven’t even added it to their work plan. What exactly are they waiting for?”

“Europe’s law on hazardous chemicals needs to be fixed, or corporations will carry on trading whatever chemicals they want to, and the EU will continue poisoning the planet for profits.”

Hazardous chemicals, banned in Europe in order to protect human health and the environment, are currently produced and exported by EU countries to third countries where protections are generally weaker. 

The European Commission committed in the EU Green Deal’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment to “lead by example, and, in line with international commitments, ensure that hazardous chemicals banned in the European Union are not produced for export, including by amending relevant legislation if and as needed.”

In 2018 alone, more than 81,000 tonnes of pesticides containing 41 different hazardous chemicals banned for agricultural use in the EU, were exported by European corporations.

A legal opinion by the Center for International Environmental Law published in September shows that EU exports of banned pesticides to Africa and Central America violate EU’s international legal obligations and human rights law.

David Azoulay, CIEL Senior Attorney, said:

"Our legal analysis shows that this trade is not only highly immoral but also illegal under the UE's own international legal obligations. In deciding to omit this activity from its work program, the EU commission not only reneges on its own word and commitments, but decides to further uphold the continuation of an illegal situation, showing its disregard for the environment and health of millions of people across the world."



Eoin Dubsky, SumOfUs <> +31641636410

David Azoulay, CIEL <> 


CIEL legal opinion: The Export of Banned Pesticides to Africa and Central America 

SumOfUs petition to EU Commissioner for Environment Virginijus Sinkevičius to “stop companies in the EU exporting banned chemicals, like bee-killing pesticides and cancer-causing cadmium batteries. 

SumOfUs is a global community of millions committed to ensuring corporations and governments prioritize people and planet over profit. It is funded principally through small-donations from grassroots members worldwide.