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Evaluation of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities Associated with EU Efforts to Combat Environmental Crime

Evaluation of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities Associated with EU Efforts to Combat Environmental Crime

Evaluation of the role of the EU and SWOT analysis

One of the main outcomes of the EU-funded FP7 project "European Union Action to Fight Environmental Crime" (EFFACE) is the report 'Evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities (SWOT) associated with EU efforts to combat environmental crime'. This SWOT analysis brings together insights gained during the previous EFFACE research and evaluates the current approaches of the EU and its Member States in combating environmental crime. The analysis is available for download.

The report 'Evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities (SWOT) associated with EU efforts to combat environmental crime' forms the basis for the forthcoming policy recommendations. The project identified nine relevant dimensions, which have been studied in detail by the EFFACE partners.

The nine dimensions discussed are:

  1. Data and information management
  2. Further harmonisation of substantive environmental criminal law at EU level (excluding sanctions)
  3. System of sanctions (administrative vs. criminal vs. civil proceedings
  4. Functioning of enforcement institutions and cooperation between them
  5. Trust-based and cooperation-based approaches: environmental crime victims and civil society
  6. External dimension of environmental crime – what can EU do 
  7. Use of environmental liability
  8. Organised environmental crime
  9. Corporate responsibility and liability in relation to environmental crime

Each theme is evaluated in a consistent way; the governance levels analysed include that of the Member States, the EU and the international level. In addition, the aspects above interact with each other; therefore the authors stress the importance of moving forward with policy recommendations that consider these different aspects as a whole and not in isolation.

Reseachers from the Ecologic Institute co-authored the studies on the functioning of enforcement institutions, environmental crime victims and civil society as well as corporate responsibility and liabiltiy in relation to environmental crime.


Citation

Farmer, A. (Ed.) (2015). Evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities (SWOT) associated with EU efforts to combat environmental crime. Study in the framework of the EFFACE research project.

Language
English
Author(s)
Andrew Farmer, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) United Kingdom
Valsamis Mitsilegas, Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
Michael Faure, METRO, Maastricht University Netherlands
Niels Philipsen, METRO, Maastricht University Netherlands
Anna Rita Germani, University of Rome “La Sapienza" Italy
Teresa Fajardo, University of Granada Spain
Grazia Maria Vagliasindi, University of Catania Italy
Nicolas Blanc Ecologic Institute
Funding
Year
2015
Dimension
131 pp.
Project ID
2720
Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Methodology
3. Area 1: Data and information management (MS/EU)
3.1     Introduction
3.2     Strengths
3.3     Weaknesses
3.4     Opportunities
3.5     Threats
3.6     Conclusions

4. Area 2: Further harmonisation of substantive environmental criminal law at EU level (excluding sanctions)
4.1     Introduction
4.2     Strengths
4.3     Weaknesses
4.4     Opportunities
4.5     Threats
4.6     Conclusions

5. Area 3: System of sanctions (administrative vs. criminal vs. civil proceedings at MS/EU level)
5.1     Introduction
5.2     Strengths
5.2.1   More administrative sanctions in the instrument mix
5.2.2   Often effective sanctions in statutes
5.2.3   Often complementary sanctions
5.3     Weaknesses
5.3.1   Enforcement instrument mix not always optimal
5.3.2   Lacking information on proportionality in practice
5.3.3   Complementary sanctions insufficiently developed?
5.4     Opportunities
5.4.1   Procedural: actions at different levels
5.4.2   Increasing the use of administrative and civil sanctions
5.4.3   Guidelines to increase the effectiveness of sanctions
5.4.4   Increasing use of complementary sanctions
5.5     Threats
5.5.1   Insufficient support and budget cuts
5.5.2   Lacking data on enforcement practice
5.6     Conclusions

6. Area 4: Functioning of enforcement institutions and cooperation between them (MS/EU level)
6.1     Introduction
6.2     Strengths
6.2.1   Criminal enforcement institutions (Member State level)
6.2.2   Cooperation between criminal and administrative institutions (Member State level)
6.2.3   Trans-boundary cooperation
6.3     Weaknesses
6.3.1   Criminal enforcement institutions (Member State level)
6.3.2   Cooperation between criminal and administrative institutions (Member State level)
6.3.3   Trans-boundary cooperation
6.4     Opportunities
6.5     Threats
6.6     Conclusions

7. Area 5: The role of the victims of environmental crime and civil society
7.1     Introduction
7.2     Strengths
7.3     Weaknesses
7.4     Opportunities
7.5     Threats
7.6     Conclusions

8. Area 6: External dimension of environmental crime – what can EU do (EU only)
8.1     Introduction
8.2     Strengths
8.2.1   International Instruments and their Enforcement
8.2.2   Actors and Institutions
8.2.3   Toolbox: Information, Databases, Legal Assistance and Judicial Cooperation Instruments, Cooperation to development
8.3     Weaknesses
8.3.1   International Instruments and their enforcement
8.3.2   Actors and Institutions
8.3.3   Toolbox: Databases, Legal Assistance and Judicial Cooperation Instruments, Cooperation to development
8.4     Opportunities
8.4.1   International Instruments and their enforcement
8.4.2   Actors and Institutions
8.4.3   Toolbox: Databases, Legal Assistance and Judicial Cooperation Instruments, Cooperation to development
8.5     Threats
8.5.1   International Instruments and their enforcement
8.5.2   Actors and Institutions
8.5.3   Toolbox
8.6     Conclusions

9. Area 7: Use of environmental liability (EU/MS)
9.1     Introduction
9.2     Strengths
9.3     Weaknesses
9.4     Opportunities
9.5     Threats
9.6     Conclusions

10. Area 8: Organised environmental crime
10.1   Introduction
10.2   Strengths
10.3   Weaknesses
10.4   Opportunities
10.5   Threats
10.6   Conclusions

11. Area 9: Corporate responsibility and liability in relation to environmental crime
11.1   Introduction
11.1.1 Corporate Social Responsibility
11.1.2 Market incentives
11.1.3 Binding approaches indirectly preventing environmental crime
11.1.4 Corporate liability for damages directly linked to environmental crimes (civil-like)
11.1.5 Criminal liability for environmental crimes
11.1.6 Civil liability for crimes that occurred outside the EU
11.2   Strengths
11.2.1 Voluntary CSR initiatives can help reinforcing compliance with existing law
11.2.2 Existing approximation at EU level on liability for environmental crime
11.2.3 Some actions for human rights violations committed abroad
11.3   Weaknesses
11.3.1 No explicit mention of environmental crime within existing CSR initiatives
11.3.2 CSR standards do not include certification by opposition to other voluntary initiatives
11.3.3 It remains very difficult for victims from outside the EU to sue EU corporations for environmental crimes also committed outside the EU
11.4   Opportunities
11.4.1 Renewal of the EU strategy for CSR
11.4.2 The EMAS Regulation goes further than CSR initiatives
11.4.3 The new Public Procurement Directives contain new clauses relating to compliance with environmental law
11.4.4 There are initiatives to create binding provisions associated with liability and linked to CSR
11.4.5 Existing examples in certain countries widening the liability of corporations for crimes committed abroad
11.5   Threats
11.5.1 Risk of “creative compliance” regarding environmental laws
11.5.2 Balance of interests may not play in favour of measures reinforcing liability
11.5.3 Difficulties linked to the extension of jurisdiction
11.6   Conclusions

12. Conclusions
12.1   Introduction
12.2   Taking the SWOT analysis forward
12.2.1 Key opportunities
12.2.2 EU level
12.2.3 Member State level
12.2.4 International level

13. References

Keywords
Environmental crime, environmental crime directive, ECD, environmental criminal law, sanctions, enforcement, trans-boundary cooperation, environmental liability, organised crime, corporate responsibility, CSR, EU, Europe, SWOT analysis