The OECD is drawing up a set of criteria that will define a ‘sustainable’ plastic from a chemical perspective. The criteria will promote the design of products with sustainable chemistry in mind at each stage of the lifecycle of plastics – feedstocks, production and manufacturing, product use and end-of-use – as well as assessing the entire product compared to similar non-plastic products. They will also aim to discourage the use of hazardous chemicals. Some recommended tools for business decision makers will be added too. The report will be expected before the end of 2020.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
The Global Canopy's 'Forest 500' assesses the 350 most influential companies in forest-risk commodity supply chains and the 150 financial institutions that support them. Nearly half of the 500 assessed companies have made commitments to eliminate deforestation by 2020, but none of the companies and financial institutions assessed in 2018 are on track to meet their target in time.
The Norwegian parliament voted to make Norway the world's first country to ban its biofuel industry from importing deforestation-linked palm oil starting in 2020. A 2017 report by Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) showed palm oil-based biofuels have a more detrimental effect on climate change than using fossil fuels. The resolution calls on the government "to formulate a comprehensive proposal for policies and taxes in the biofuels policy in order to exclude biofuels with high deforestation risk."
In order to help consumers make informed choices for safer products while increasing pressure to substitute substances of concern, ECHA is going to establish a new database on the presence of hazardous chemicals in articles by the end of 2019 for waste treatment operators and consumers. The database will comprise information submitted by companies producing, importing or selling articles that contain Candidate List substances. Companies need to submit this information by the end of 2020. The work is based on the revised waste framework directive that entered into force in July 2018. It is part of the EU’s waste legislation package, contributing to the EU's circular economy policy.
Results of a market survey conducted by ECHA shows the volume of bisphenol S (BPS) used as developer in thermal paper manufactured in the EU doubled between 2016 and 2017. The market share of BPS-based thermal papers is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, and in particular after 2 January 2020, when BPA can no longer be used in thermal paper in the EU.
Latin American countries, regions and cities demonstrated clear ambition and leadership at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) held in Bonn, Germany. Mexico and Costa Rica joined 23 other countries in signing on to a new global coalition committed to phasing out coal and supporting clean power policies and investments, while restricting financing for coal plants. Buenos Aires, Caracas, Mexico City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile were among 25 global cities that committed to develop and implement more ambitious climate action plans before 2020.
A dozen repro-toxic and carcinogenic substances will be phased out from the EU market within the next four years following the publication of the European Commission's decision. Eight repro-toxic substances, seven of them phthalates, will be banned from July 2020, with applications for individual uses accepted until January 2019. Anthracene oil and high-temperature coal-tar pitch must be phased out by October 2020, and the ban on two additional compounds classified as environmental endocrine disruptors will come into force on January 2021.
A report by World Economic Forum and Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 states that the transfer to deforestation-free supply chains could represent an investment opportunity of approximately US$ 200 billion annually. However, although companies are making commitments to deforestation-free pulp and paper in their supply chain, due to the underestimation of the risk, they may have issues meeting their time bound commitments.
Norway has donated $100 million to start a fund to halt deforestation, with Unilever being the first corporate investor to the fund pledging $25 million over five years. This was announced at the World Economic Forum and the fund’s aim is to ‘safeguard more than 5 million hectares of peatlands and forests’. This fund was created under the ‘Tropical Forest Alliance 2020’ umbrella which brings together leaders of public institutions and private companies to eliminate deforestation from supply chains.
Two organizations, Woodland Trust and Confer, warn that England now is cutting down more trees than planting in the possibly 40 years. They pointed out that England is already one of Europe’s least wooded countries, and the government is missing its target to plant 11 million trees in the UK in the lifetime of this parliament. The UK government responded that the woodland cover was at its highest level since the 14th century, and planting rates vary from year to year. The Woodland Trust, Confor and large commercial forestry groups call on the government to commit to planting 7,000 hectares of woodland every year until 2020 and then to increase planting to 10,000 hectares a year.
Gender inequality is still widespread in the forestry industry and existing roles for women are poorly supported by current forestry policy. The current issues for gender equality are the widespread misconceptions that forestry work is too physical or the environment is too dangerous for women to work in, and also a significant lack of gender-balanced and women-friendly policies in developing countries. Learning from developed countries where affirmative action in offering education, training, and childcare to working women is a suggested way to bring gender equality to forestry. Recently, FSC released a Guidance Document on Promoting Gender Equality in National Forest Stewardship Standards.
FSC is declaring its intention to more than double its share of global forest-based trade in the next five years to 20 per cent. The strategic plan was developed through consensus by the FSC International Board of Directors, and included extensive consultation with FSC staff, members, and stakeholders. The new FSC Global Strategic Plan 2015-2020 has an emphasis on increasing FSC certification in tropical countries, and providing a voice to those most affected by mismanaged forests – Indigenous Peoples, workers, communities, women, and smallholders - while meeting the needs of current certificate holders. The three strategies that make up the strategic plan are 1) Strengthen the FSC framework and governance, 2) Increase market value of FSC, and 3) Transform the way FSC works.
Standard Chartered has signed up to the ‘soft commodities compact’ which ensures their palm oil, soy and timber clients’ activities are consistent with ‘zero net deforestation’ by 2020. Many global food manufacturers have signed up to anti-deforestation initiatives in recent years and now pressure is being put on banks to do the same. Nine other banks have already signed this agreement, including RBS, UBS and Santander.
A new study of 14 nations by WWF and think tank Climate Advisors shows that only 4 (Indonesia, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru) have set targets to succeed by 2020. WWF say that if zero net deforestation by 2010 was achieved in these 14 countries, three gigatonnes in annual carbon dioxide could be saved by 2020 – more than the annual emissions of India and Germany combined.
It’s been a year since Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd (APRIL) released its latest ‘Sustainable Forest Management Plan’. APRIL claims to have an ‘ongoing commitment to conservation and a sustainable approach to landscape development.’ But it plans to continue clearing forests until 2020. It also refuses to stop draining peatlands - even though doing so wrecks the climate, and leads to forest fires and floods. Over the past year, Greenpeace researchers have been monitoring APRIL’s operations on Padang Island, off the coast of Sumatra. The photos they took show what APRIL’s real objective is to clear as much of Indonesia's rainforest as it can get away with before it is forced to stop.
China's Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia to its north and east, contains 18.5 million hectares of state forest - more natural forest than any other province in the country. However, since the mid-twentieth century, Heilongjiang has had over 600 million cubic meters of timber extracted from its woodlands. Now, China is trying out a complete ban on commercial logging in the province's state-owned forests. Forestry experts predict that this trial ban will allow forests to regenerate hence, replenishing timber supplies, but will also push the industry to focus on improved forest management. According to the State Forestry Administration, to ensure that the ban is enforced and implemented over its intended time frame, the central Chinese government has allocated 2.35 billion yuan ($375 million) per year to cover forestry workers’ living costs between 2014 and 2020. If the ban succeeds, it could be extended throughout northeastern China and Inner Mongolia.
Travis Perkins have been recognised for their efforts in eliminating destructive deforestation from their supply chain. The award for most improved company was given by CDP as part of their 2014 global forests report, ‘Deforestation-free supply chains: From commitments to action’. The report, set against the backdrop of September’s landmark New York Declaration on Forests, recognises ongoing improvement in removing deforestation from agricultural supply chains by 2020. Jez Cutler, head of group environment at Travis Perkins Group – and a guest speaker at our 2011 PREPS Seminar – said,
“We are delighted to be recognised as the most improved company in our industry in reducing reliance on forest risk commodities in the supply chain.
“This is a result of our continuous efforts to improve environmental excellence and sustainability throughout our organisation and our activities. We will continue to aim for further improvements and transparency as well as engagement with important organisations such as the CPD, who support this agenda.”
China has halted commercial logging by state firms in forests in the vast north-eastern province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, home to much of the country’s timber industry, a move experts see as a significant step to curb over-exploitation of timber. The central government has allocated 2.35bn yuan a year to cover forestry workers’ living costs between 2014 and 2020. During the last century, warfare and unrest depleted and damaged the forests. More recently, economic growth has taken a further toll. There are concerns about the long-term ecological impacts if management of the forests does not improve with the region being an important agricultural zone and concerns about deforestation disrupting rainfall patterns.
British businesses from the high street and timber, construction, publishing, DIY and grocery industries are among the first UK firms committing to responsible forest trade to help end deforestation around the world with a shift to 100 per cent sustainable timber and wood products by 2020. The existing loopholes in the current legislation to combat illegal timber means some industries are exempt from ensuring that their wood or products have come from legal sources. In 2015 the timber regulation is due to be reviewed and WWF and its campaign supporters are calling on the UK government to demand the EU makes the necessary improvements to the regulation to ensure that all timber products are covered and thus end the import of illegal wood.
An independent study by The Forest Trust and Ata Marie have found that APP has sufficient plantation resources to supply a massive new mill being built in OKI, South Sumatra. The study did however uncover one minor gap in supply in 2020. Aida Greenbury, APP’s managing director of sustainability said “The TFT report forecasts a minor gap in supply in 2020. However it is clear that with a harvesting rotation of around five years, improvements made now can bridge that gap by increasing productivity of supplier plantations through improved yield, better tree stock and reduction of waste. As such, we have been developing an action plan to ensure we have sufficient plantation fibre to meet the pulp requirements of our existing mills as well as our future mill in South Sumatra, in line with our target to become a 100% plantation business for pulp production.