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This chapter analyses the regulatory approach adopted by the European Union and its Member States with regard to control of emissions from cars, and norms of corporate social and environmental responsibility. Volkswagen A.G. appeared as one of the most responsible car-maker according to sustainability index rating. Despite a well-established code of conduct was in place, the company has been exposed to an epic scandal, which unveiled many shortcomings of emissions tests which involve several car-makers, certification companies, EU institutions, States and their regulatory authorities. The role and responsibilities of these actors need to be clarified as well as a serious assessment of the existing regulations, monitoring and compliance systems needs to be undertaken.
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Morgera ( 2009).
On 22 August 2016, the Financial Times reported that “A French government report omitted significant details about how Renault’s diesel cars were able to emit fewer deadly gases when subject to official emissions testing, members of the state inquiry have told the Financial Times”.
In December 2015, 195 States gathered in Paris and adopted an agreement to deal with the main challenges of climate change for the next decades. The core pillars of the agreement cover national measures and international cooperation on mitigation, adaptation and transfer of finance and technology. After lengthy and cumbersome negotiations that lasted more than two decades under the aegis of the United Nations, the Paris Agreement is a delicate balance between the many and often conflicting interests and priorities of all the countries of the world. The Agreement sets the foundations for a long-term strengthened international cooperation that combines, on the one hand, the flexibility necessary to accommodate the great variety of different national circumstances with, on the other hand, the necessity to rely on uniform and commonly accepted rules. The Paris Agreement is an international treaty that has been open for signature by states on 22 April 2016. For an early assessment of the Paris Agreement, see Romanin Jacur ( 2016).
For an in-depth and comparative analysis of EU law in the field of atmospheric pollutants and CO 2 emissions, see Visaggio ( 2012).
O.J. L 263/1 (2007).
Important regulatory steps implementing emission standard for light-duty vehicles were as follows: Council Directive 70/220/EEC – O.J. L 76/1 (1970) and relative amendments; Council Directive 91/441/EEC – O.J. L 242/1 (1991), Euro 1 standards (passenger cars only); Directive 93/59/EEC – O.J. L 186/21 (1993), passenger cars and light trucks; Directive 94/12/EC – O.J. L 100/42 (1994); Directive 96/69/EC L 282/64 (1996), Euro 2 standards; Directive 98/69/EC – O.J. L 350/1 (1998); Directive 2002/80/EC – O.J. L 291/20 (2002), Euro 3/4 standards; Regulation No. 715/2007, Euro 5/6 standards and several comitology regulations.
O.J. L 171/1 (2007).
Regulation No. 715/2007, Art.14(3): “The Commission shall keep under review the procedures, tests and requirements referred to in Article 5(3) as well as the test cycles used to measure emissions. If the review finds that these are no longer adequate or no longer reflect real world emissions, they shall be adapted so as to adequately reflect the emissions generated by real driving on the road.”
Regulation No. 715/2007, Art. 5(1).
Remarks of Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska at the press conference after the Competitiveness Council on 30th November 2015.
European Commission-JRC Scientific and Policy Reports, A complementary emissions test for light-duty vehicles: Assessing the technical feasibility of candidate procedure, 2013, p. 31. Available at http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC75998/ld-na-25572-en-n_online.pdf).
The Volkswagen Group, Code of Conduct, respectively p. 4, 19 and 15. Available at http://en.volkswagen.com/content/medialib/vwd4/de/Volkswagen/Nachhaltigkeit/service/download/corporate_governance/Code_of_Conduct/_jcr_content/renditions/rendition.file/the-volkswagen-group-code-of-conduct.pdf.
Crête ( 2016).
Volkswagen News, Volkswagen making good progress with its investigation, technical solutions, and Group realignment, 10th December 2015. Available at http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/infocenter/en/news/2015/12/VW_PK.html, p. 1.
Directive 2007/46, Art. 30(1).
Directive 2007/46, Art. 46 and Regulation No. 715/2007, Art. 13(1).
Regulation No. 715/2007, Art. 13(2).
Norway’s sovereign fund and one of the major European insurance companies, Allianz, are suing Volkswagen due to the negative impact of the Dieselgate on the value of Volkswagen shares. See Allianz to sue Volkswagen over Dieselgate share drop, 8 March 2016. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/volkswagen-allianz-suit-idUSL5N16G3CB.
Financial Times, 15th May 2016.
For a thorough exam of EU law in this sector and reaching similar conclusions, De Sadeleer ( 2016).
O.J. L 330/1 (2014).
Zurück zum Zitat Crête R (2016) The Volkswagen scandal from the viewpoint of corporate governance. Eur J Risk Reg 7:25–31 Crête R (2016) The Volkswagen scandal from the viewpoint of corporate governance. Eur J Risk Reg 7:25–31
Zurück zum Zitat De Sadeleer N (2016) Harmonizing car emissions, air quality, and fuel quality standards in the wake of the VW scandal. Eur J Risk Reg 7:11–24 De Sadeleer N (2016) Harmonizing car emissions, air quality, and fuel quality standards in the wake of the VW scandal. Eur J Risk Reg 7:11–24
Zurück zum Zitat Morgera E (2009) Corporate accountability in international environmental law. Oxford University Press, Oxford Morgera E (2009) Corporate accountability in international environmental law. Oxford University Press, Oxford
Zurück zum Zitat Romanin Jacur F (2016) L’Accordo di Parigi e i passi avanti della cooperazione multilaterale sul clima. Sidiblog. Available at http://www.sidiblog.org/author/francesca-romanin-jacur/ Romanin Jacur F (2016) L’Accordo di Parigi e i passi avanti della cooperazione multilaterale sul clima. Sidiblog. Available at http://www.sidiblog.org/author/francesca-romanin-jacur/
Zurück zum Zitat Visaggio L (2012) La normativa europea in materia di controllo delle emissioni: tra armonizzazione tecnica e politica ambientale. In: Gestri M (ed) L’autoveicolo nel nuovo contesto giuridico europeo - The motor vehicle in the new European legal framework. Giuffrè, Milan, pp 241–280 Visaggio L (2012) La normativa europea in materia di controllo delle emissioni: tra armonizzazione tecnica e politica ambientale. In: Gestri M (ed) L’autoveicolo nel nuovo contesto giuridico europeo - The motor vehicle in the new European legal framework. Giuffrè, Milan, pp 241–280
Zurück zum Zitat http://en.volkswagen.com/content/medialib/vwd4/de/Volkswagen/Nachhaltigkeit/service/download/corporate_governance/Code_of_Conduct/_jcr_content/renditions/rendition.file/the-volkswagen-group-code-of-conduct.pdf http://en.volkswagen.com/content/medialib/vwd4/de/Volkswagen/Nachhaltigkeit/service/download/corporate_governance/Code_of_Conduct/_jcr_content/renditions/rendition.file/the-volkswagen-group-code-of-conduct.pdf
- The Environmental Dimension of the Dieselgate: a European and International Legal Perspective
Francesca Romanin Jacur