Article 6 of the "product standard" act of 21 December 1998, provides the possibility of creating sectoral agreements. These agreements are signed between the Minister (in this case the federal minister in charge of environment) and one or more professional sectors in order to arrange the placing on the market of the products.
Sectoral agreements, unlike conventional legislation, offer wide ranging flexibility and enable the targeted sectors to negotiate their own commitments with the federal government.
The Federal government has recently started using sectoral agreements as a policy instrument.
Such agreements are signed for a maximum period of ten years. They have well-defined objectives (whether or not quantitative) and specify the practical arrangements especially for monitoring compliance with the agreement.
Two sectoral agreements were signed in 2011.
The first pertains to the placing on the market of sustainable wood. It aims to increase the offering for sale of products that comply with the sustainable wood criteria developed by the FSC and PEFC labels.
The second relates to detergents. Its main objective is to increase and diversify the supply of detergents that meet the strict environmental criteria (the European eco-label criteria and the product concentration criteria).