The German Cabinet agreed to end the sale of single-use plastic items by July 3, 2021, bringing it in line with a European Union directive intended to reduce the amount of plastic waste. The move means the sale of single-use cutlery, plates, stirring sticks and balloon holders, as well as polystyrene cups and boxes, will be banned by then.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
Statement: International community urges Cambodian government to take action to address issues of human & labor rights violations
After a yearlong official investigation, the European Union still found serious and systematic violations of human rights including severe limitations to political rights and freedom of speech as well as serious barriers to labour rights and workers exercising their associational rights. The EU has now decided to partially and temporarily suspend preferential tariffs the Government of Cambodia enjoyed. This decision comes at the end of years of concerns raised by the international community. Fair Wear, Clean Clothes Campaign, CNV Internationaal, Ethical Trading Initiative, INRetail, Modint and Mondiaal FNV have released a joint statement responding to the EU’s decision and urging the Cambodian government to take urgent action.
Ukraine has adopted legislation aimed at harmonising its toy safety regulation with that of the European Union. Cabinet ministers approved the new Technical Regulation on the Safety of Toys in February. It becomes effective on 21 September. The law establishes requirements on the safety of toys and their placement on the market, and defines the obligations of manufacturers, importers and distributors. It replaces the existing regulation, which was approved in 2013 and took into account the EU's 2009 Toy Safety Directive. The EU has subsequently made a number of amendments to its legislation. Ukraine's latest regulation slightly diverges from the EU Directive, in that it applies to products that have been developed or intended for children up to 14 years of age.
According to research by Greenpeace's Energy desk, Malaysian IOI Group, which is one of the biggest world's producers of palm oil and which exports its production to the European Union, is related to deforestation processes and violations of labour law in Indonesia. Following the publication of a report, Greenpeace activists have blockaded a palm oil refinery owned by IOI in the port of Rotterdam.
Leaders from international indigenous and forest communities gathered in London to address the violation of human rights and land grabbing associated to the global trade of palm oil. A report last year from Fern showed that 18% of palm oil produced from illegal tropical forest destruction ends up in the EU. The community leaders are calling for the London Stock Exchange to stop trading with companies who act outside of the law as well as improvements in certification schemes in responding and investigating community complaints.
Austrian timber company Schweighofer is linked to large-scale illegal logging which accounts for half of Romania's timber production. An EIA investigation finds that almost all the illegal timber ends up in the company's mills. Romania still has an estimated 218,000 hectares of old growth forests. A recent Romanian government study estimated that 80 million cubic meters of timber have been cut illegally in the past 20 years, representing a loss to the Romanian economy of over €5 billion. Following the report’s publication, WWF filed a complaint at the Federal Forest Office in Vienna for violations of the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) and calls for a full investigation of the allegations against Schweighofer.
Following a multistakeholder discussion the Indonesian government, starting next year, has agreed to simplify the process for the country’s mandatory timber verification system (SVLK). This decision came after rising verification costs could have made certification too expensive for smaller operators. The plans aim to ask suppliers to include supply-conformity declarations, known as DKPs, on their overseas shipments, which will be free of charge. These declarations normally include basic information such as the four-digit commodity ID code, volume of product, type of timber, and sources of timber supply to ensure legality. The government has also pledged financial aid for SMEs if they are prepared to be certified in groups. The Indonesian authorities are trying to encourage growth in their export market while also responding to environmental concerns from major purchasing markets such as the European Union.
The EU has signed a VPA with the Government of Liberia which aims to improve forest governance and ensure that the wood imported into the EU has complied with the Liberian legal requirements. The UK Government is providing aid to support the process and the ultimate goal of developing FLEGT licenced timber.