Having proven its ability to meet an environmental objective at a low cost, the system consisting of setting targets and trading emissions is now widely recognized as being the most effective tool for tackling the problem of how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing sector.

The last three years have witnessed an intense process of research, preparation, simulation and real-life experimentation, chiefly in the UK, North America, Europe, the Nordic countries, Australia.

Simulations has shown just how easy it is to implement such a system, the speed with which those involved can learn to master the tool, and the market’s effectiveness in encouraging actors to make the necessary investment once has been established a long-term vision of the objectives to be achieved in a system of unchanging rules.

Real life experience has shown that by setting a price per tonne of GHG avoided, the system encourages profit centre managers to actively explore new options.

This system will only become truly effective when it can operate on the wider international stage (in principle, by 2008). In the meantime, practical implementation problems need to be examined within private company partnerships or in national systems, the latter having the advantage of enabling preliminary emission reduction projects to be launched and recognized by the authorities.