Green technology and sustainability initiatives are not commercially viable for businesses without collaboration, but UK competition rules prohibit anti-competitive agreements between competitors, and set stiff fines for violations.
As the push to become greener intensifies, however, regulators are looking at ways to give companies more leeway to approach environmental issues collaboratively. Hall proposed that the UK create a regulatory “sandbox” that would allow competing manufacturers and suppliers to collaborate on new products, services or technologies without the constraints of competition law.
“There could be a specific statutory regime for the sandbox — for example, a UK sustainability agreements block exemption — automatically exempting such agreements from competition law within bounds, or it could be run under the control of the [UK Competition and Markets Authority],” Hall said. Companies “would be protected from competition authority fines and private claims, provided that they stayed within suitable bounds.”