Member states or the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) can propose substances to be identified as an SVHC. There are two substances currently proposed:
• Bis(2-(2-methoxyethoxy)ethyl)ether; (Tetraglyme) (EC 205-594-7, CAS 143-24-8). The substance can be used as a solvent/extraction agent in inks and toners.
Dioctyltin dilaurate, stannane, dioctyl-, bis (coco acyloxy) derivs., and any other stannane, dioctyl-, bis(fatty acyloxy) derivs. wherein C12 is the predominant carbon number of the fatty acyloxy moiety. These substances are not registered under REACH. The mono-constituent form of the substance (dioctyltin dilaurate) is used in adhesives and sealants.
If a substance is identified as an SVHC, it will be added to the Candidate List for eventual inclusion in the Authorisation List. The deadline for public consultation is 16 October 2020.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
Two proposals to identify new substances of very high concern
Member states or the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) can propose substances to be identified as an SVHC. There are two substances currently proposed:
Indonesia targets pulpwood, palm oil firms in civil suits over 2019 fires
Indonesia’s environment ministry will file civil lawsuits against five companies in connection with fires that razed their concessions last year. Fire season in 2019 burned an area half the size of Belgium and released double the amount of carbon dioxide as the fires in the Amazon. Officials say they are preparing both civil lawsuits — seeking fines against the pulpwood and oil palm firms blamed for the fires — and criminal charges. However, a spate of recent cases suggests the government will have a hard time getting the money, with only a tiny fraction paid out of the $231 million awarded from nine companies in similar lawsuits.
A coalition of NGOs send an open letter to the Consumer Good Forum calling on them to act on their 2020 deforestation commitments
Ten years ago, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) made a commitment to end deforestation in member companies’ supply chains by 2020. As 2020 approaches, the companies will inevitably miss the deadline. An international coalition of NGOs called this out CGF members and relayed the following expectations in this open letter:
• Communicate a mandatory requirement ensuring suppliers comply with ‘No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation (NDPE) commitments.
• Ensure human rights are respected and compliance with international standards of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC).
• Establish comprehensive, proactive, and transparent monitoring systems that rapidly detect non-compliance across supply chains and require implementation of the High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) for agricultural development involving land-use change. Assessments should use the Integrated High Conservation Value (HCV)- HCSA Assessment Manual and be approved by the High Conservation Value Resource Network (HCVRN) Quality Review Panel before development
• Publish guidelines to address non compliances, including thresholds for suspension and grievance mechanisms
• Provide incentives and support to upstream suppliers to manage risk
• Publish public facing reports on progress
Oil Tanker Spill Off China May Have Lasting Environmental Impacts
An Iranian oil tanker that collided with a Hong Kong bulk freighter in the East China Sea is creating a new problem now that it has sunk. The oil tanker was carrying close to 150,000 tons of condensate, a light oil, when it crashed. It is unclear how much of the oil had burned off or spilled when it sank. Unlike crude oil, which can create chronic environmental problems by sinking to the deep ocean and lingering there for years, hydrocarbon condensate is much lighter, evaporating or dissolving into water. That means short-term toxicity might be a bigger concern with this spill.
Seven new substances added to the Candidate List, entry for bisphenol-A updated
ECHA has added seven new substances of very high concern (SVHC) to the Candidate List and updated the entry for bisphenol A (BPA) following the SVHC identification process with the involvement of the Member State Committee (MSC). New substances include Chrysene, Benz[a]anthracene, Cadmium nitrate, Cadmium hydroxide, Cadmium carbonate, etc. The BPA entry was updated to reflect an additional reason for inclusion due to its endocrine disrupting properties causing adverse effects to the environment.
BPA recognised as an endocrine disruptor
EU experts have agreed to designate bisphenol A (BPA) as a human endocrine disruptor on top of its current repro-toxic classification, paving the way for an EU phase-out of the chemical. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced that its member state committee voted unanimously to classify the compound, used in polycarbonate plastics, inks and resins, a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under the EU REACH Regulation due to its endocrine-disrupting properties.
H&M, Zara and Marks & Spencer linked to polluting viscose factories in Asia
Major fashion brands are sourcing viscose from factories in China, Indonesia and India which are polluting and damaging health, according to new report. The report cites evidence that carbon disulphide exposure is harming both factory workers and people living near viscose plants. Residential areas nearby the factory are polluted with carbon disulphide levels three times higher than the permitted limit. The report is calling for carbon disulphide to be completely eradicated from the viscose production process, and for all viscose production to occur in a closed loop system which eradicates chemical discharge and prevents harm to workers and the environment. Spokespeople from those brands said they will work continuously with its suppliers to improve conditions and ensure that they adhere to sustainable practices.
Tesla factory workers reveal pain, injury and stress: 'Everything feels like the future but us'
The appetite for Musk’s electric cars, and his promise to disrupt the carbon-reliant automobile industry, has helped Tesla’s value exceed that of both Ford and, briefly, General Motors (GM). But some of the human workers who share the factory with their robotic counterparts complain of gruelling pressure – which they attribute to Musk’s aggressive production goals – and detailed allegations of mandatory overtime, plus sometimes life-changing injuries.
Forest fragmentation may be releasing much more carbon than we think
Many tropical forests around the world have been severely fragmented as human disturbance split once-contiguous forests into pieces. Previous research indicates trees on the edges of these fragments have higher mortality rates than trees growing in the interiors of forests. Researchers used satellite data and analysis software they developed to figure out how many forest fragments there are, and the extent of their edges. They discovered that there are around 50 million tropical forest fragments in the world today. When they calculated how much carbon is being released from tree death at these edges, they found a 31% increase from current tropical deforestation estimates.
Advisory to buyers and investors of RGE/APRIL
In November 2016 WWF Indonesia suspended its membership of APRIL's Stakeholder Advisory Committee because of a lack of progress implementing their sustainable forest management plan, failing to abide by government policy on peatland protection, and a lack of transparency on business operations.
WWF have called on APRIL to have independent, third party verification on their progress with the forest management plan, as well as filling policy gaps to address deforestation in High Conservation Value forest and High Carbon Stock forest, as well as social issues and peat development.
Forest conservation can offset emissions from palm oil expansion in Africa: Study
A new research published by the journal Conservation Letters studies the industrial palm oil plantations and regional greenhouse gas emissions levels. The paper summarizes the results of a case study focused on an oil palm operation in Gabon, and suggests that tropical African countries could largely offset the emissions created by converting the land to palm oil plantations if they enact mandatory policies regulation which forests can be cleared and how much remaining forest must be set aside for conservation. If those mandatory measures are lack, unsustainable levels of climate-warming carbon emissions could be created by converting Africa’s tropical forests into monoculture palm plantations.
"Zero deforestation” champion creates new risks for Indonesia’s forests and carbon-rich peatlands with mega-scale pulp mill
A recent study released by 12 international and Indonesian NGOs reveal that Asia Pulp &Paper (APP) is building one of the world’s largest pulp mills without a sustainable wood supply in South Sumatra. This analysis indicates that the current planted area owned by APP is insufficient in supporting this new mill as well as the 2 existing mills. This report suggests that APP may fail to meet its ‘zero deforestation commitments’ made in 2013 which included ‘100% sustainable plantation wood for pulp’.
Does sustainable forest management actually protect forests?
A group of scientists questioned whether sustainable forest management (SFM) is an effective way as commonly believed to protect tropical forests and the habitat and carbon reserves. They published a study in the journal Land Use Policy arguing that SFM may not actually lead to less deforestation based on the their analysis of timber concessions in the Central African nation of the Republic of Congo. According to their research, timber concessions operating under forest management plans (FMPs) showed higher rates of deforestation than concessions without them. The research was criticized by some scientists as overly simplistic. One of the authors was hesitant to extend the findings beyond the borders of the Republic of Congo.
Dilma disappoints with weak rainforest target
Environmentalists have called Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s commitments on reducing deforestation and supporting renewable energy ‘weak’ and representing little more than maintaining the status quo. Greenpeace Brazil say the target of restoring 12 million hectares of forest represents only half of the reforestation requirements under Brazil’s Forest Code and are just another commitment to comply with existing laws, not a bold new initiative.
Brazil has, however, worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more than any large country over the past decade, with emissions from all sectors having fallen by around 40% since 2005, with an 85% cut in carbon dioxide from deforestation.
Fight against deforestation failing says WWF
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.
Forests could provide a third of the solution to climate change
A report from Prince Charles' International Sustainability Unit has found that we are still some way from realising the full potential of tropical forests in stabilising global climate, agricultural yields, ecosystem services and local livelihoods. The report, Tropical Forests: A Review, argues that forests have such incredible potential because of their dual role as carbon sinks. Less deforestation means less carbon is released and as the forest continues to grow, more carbon is locked in to the biomass. The report also highlights the importance of tropical forests to regional and global rainfall cycles. This is particularly relevant for Brazil where a severe drought has impacted cities and major agricultural areas. Modelling has shown that deforestation in the Amazon and Congo Basin could affect rainfall patterns across Europe and North America. The report urges forests be prioritised as a significant solution as we approach binding international agreements on climate change.
Palm oil companies and NGOs endorse a new deforestation-limiting toolkit
A toolkit, named the HCS Approach, has been developed by a group of organisations with the aim of identifying High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests. The toolkit was endorsed last week by major NGOs and plantation companies in Singapore including Golden Agri Resources, APP, Wilmar, Greenpeace, WWF, RAN, Unilever and The Forest Trust. The toolkit is seen as a crucial element in developing sustainable plantations and the companies involved will now begin the steps towards implementation in the field. HCS sits alongside HCV
Assessing carbon stock value of forests is tricky business, study finds
A study recently published in Forest Ecology and Management examines the carbon stock value of forests in Guyana, finding dramatic differences between different kinds of cover and land-use types. Tropical forests are among the most valuable in terms of carbon stocks. Globally, tropical forests sequester about 2.4 billion metric tons, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011. The new research found that carbon values differ according to forest type and usage pattern; for instance, carbon values from undisturbed forests cannot be applied in inhabited community lands.
APP plans global campaign to push ‘zero deforestation’ policy next year
APP are set to start communicating the work that they have done on their zero deforestation policy, which came into force in early 2013. They want to communicate to a wider audience all that they have to say around high conservation values and high carbon stock, but in a manner that everyone can understand. APP’s zero deforestation policy has had a positive impact on the company’s bottom line, and companies such as Nestle and Staples have started working with APP again.
10 minute video from Tony Juniper on APP’s Forest Conservation Policy
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a long-time target of environmental campaigners, committed in February 2013 to protect and restore a million hectares of forest across Indonesia under its Forest Conservation Policy. This video presented by Tony Juniper, an advisor to APP, highlights key aspects of the policy. The policy requires its suppliers to not only protect natural forest resources, but also biodiversity and human rights. APP has worked with The Forest Trust (TFT) to help develop and implement the policy. And the company has adopted the High Conservation Value (HCV) assessment, developed by the Forest Stewardship Council, to ensure the values of natural forest are fully understood. APP is also adopting High Carbon Stock (HCS) survey to understand the location of big stocks of carbon. The restoration commitment of APP targets nine “landscape” across Sumatra and Kalimantan, regions where the company sources its fibre.