Response to article by "Corporate Europe Observatory" of 28 March 2018
Brussels, 29 March 2018: The Clean Europe Network was disappointed to learn of a lengthy article published on the website of the NGO "Corporate Europe Observatory" (CEO) which develops a theory about the Network and its activities, alleging that it is a so-called "front" organisation for the packaging industry and that it is covertly lobbying to delay effective litter prevention. This article, which repeats claims made in 2016 by Dutch/Flemish NGOs is, in our opinion, misleading. We responded clearly at the time.
The CEO article, while essentially factual, contains significant omissions, presents partial information in places, draws conclusions that do not always flow from the preceding information presented and contains some plainly false statements about our work and philosophy, notably in relation to our views on producer responsibility. We regret the appearance of this misleading information based on conjecture which we refute.
The Clean Europe Network is not, and never has been, a lobbying organisation. It is a small association with very small financial means (2018 budget is around €80,000-), entirely funded today by member contributions. Since its inception in April 2013, the European Litter Prevention Association - which operates as the Clean Europe Network – has focused on the exchange of experience and expertise between members; on developing a common European methodology for measurement and monitoring of litter; on addressing ways to reduce the flow of litter from the land to the seas; and raising awareness about the need for more and better litter prevention policy and action. Within the scope of available resources we share our experience and expertise with anyone who asks us.
We would like to reassure all our partners that the association has sound rules for governance which the managing board applies. The Clean Europe Network is transparent in the way it works at all times. This is why we have listed the Network on the Commission and Parliament joint register of economic interests and why we have provided fuller information about our work on our website.
The Network aims to bring together as many stakeholders as possible (including producers of products that frequently enter the litter stream, government bodies and civil society groups) to identify/share effective collaborative solutions to litter prevention on the ground. The Clean Europe Network's EU level workshops and pilot projects and "Stop Litter Now! Summit" meetings are good examples, as is the work of our members in their territories with local authorities and community groups to run hands-on programmes that make a difference.
The Network has stated publicly its support for proposals from the European Commission and European Parliament to include provisions in EU waste rules on shared responsibility for litter and the prevention of littering, including mandatory extended producer responsibility for litter prevention communications, which we support fully. It is for government to decide what form such producer responsibility should take.
More background information can be found on our website under “Q and A” which we will update as needed.
29 March 2018
Clean Europe Network Board