Glycidol and acrylamide - carcinogenic above certain levels but only currently controlled in the EU - have been detected in biscuit products in Hong Kong and Malaysia. Hong Kong authorities and local regulators are testing and defining safe limits to evaluate the risks before controls are put in place.
In a bid to clean up China’s second largest freshwater lake, local authorities in Hunan Province will close all pulp and paper mills around Dongting Lake by the end of 2019. The c18,000 people employed in the Province's pulp and paper industry will be supported by the local authorityin to new employment. This move is part of wider water pollution controls active since 2006 in Hunan Province. They have led to closures of over 200 waste paper pulping factories and 30 pulp and paper making facilities. The efforts to restore the lake over the past 40 years have helped it extend its area by 30%, providing better flood resilience in the region.
April, one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producers and controls a million hectares of forests in Indonesia, announced that it had stopped clearing forests as part of its operations. Last year, it also launched its sustainable policy, including a pledge to halt forest clearing in 2010. Now the company is called a “champion” by the environmental group, Greenpeace, which used to be a fierce critic of the company. Also Greenpeace vowed to monitor April’s implementation of new policy closely. Activists said that battle is still far from won.
In response to TFT's criticisms of the Chain of Custody system, FSC issued a response highlighting the controls in place to maintain a robust system. The article does not respond to all of TFT's points but rather focuses on the COC improvements that are underway.
The Viet Nam Administration of Forestry announced that over 13,700 violations of forest protection and timber management laws were reported in the first six months of 2012. Around 623ha of forest land have been lost in this period as a result of changes in forest use purposes, illegal logging and forest fires. Government ministries working on the issue aim to tighten controls on the wood processing industry and local authorities have been ordered to review existing forestry projects and ensure that forest protection programmes are adequately funded.