Includes company responses, the latest jobs and events announcements.
• Declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus impacts workers’ rights around the world as employers seek to protect business and supply chains.
• Migrant workers from Malaysia reportedly return home without owed wages as employers try to force them to stay.
• Employees of American Airlines concerned about unknown health threats file a USA lawsuit to halt flights to China; airline has stated it is “taking precautions”.
• Technology firms allegedly maintain manufacturing operations despite government calls for companies to halt work to stop coronavirus spread.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
Inconsistent business action in response to Covid-19 (novel coronavirus), first reported from Wuhan, China
Includes company responses, the latest jobs and events announcements.
Premier Li Keqiang has signed a State Council decree to publish a regulation on guaranteeing payments of wages to rural migrant workers. The regulation requires market entities should take the lead under the supervision of government and society including labour unions, social medias etc. It states employers must pay employment wage in full and on time through bank transfers or cash. It also clarifies the responsibilities of employers for paying off arrears to migrant workers and corresponding legal account abilities for any breach of the regulation. This regulation will go into effect on 1st of May, 2020.
Around 150 Yong’an residents are suing the local government and its partner forest management company, Guangxi Lee & Man Forestry Technology Ltd, for violating a clause in contract law where a business must not damage public interests. Villagers claim the eucalyptus, a thirsty plantation species, is draining the local water supply from three mountain springs, leaving very little for farming and domestic use in the village. This is the first case of this kind in China.
An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China's Jiangsu province killed 78 people and injured more than 600. The government has since launched a nationwide inspection into hazardous chemicals, mines, transportation and fire safety. The area's environmental protection bureau has implemented an emergency plan to remove and treat toxic wastewater from a nearby river, with concentrations of harmful chemicals like benzene well past safe limits. The Chinese government vowed to tighten environmental impact assessment approvals for chemical plants and enhance daily inspections. It has also said it will revise the Production Safety Law this year in response to the explosion.
Jiangsu’s provincial government also have plans to close thousands of chemical production sites and chemical parks over the next three years.
- Labour & Environment
- chemical plants
- Chinese goverment
- daily inspections
- Deadly chemical blast
- emergency plan
- environmental impact assessment approvals
- environmental protection bureau
- fire safety
- hazardous chemicals
- Jiangsu province
- pesticide plant
- Production Safety Law
- toxic wastewater
Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) jointly published Towards Better Modern Slavery Reporting, a review of global modern slavery legislation. It highlighted gaps in legislation and provides clear recommendations for governments and companies to enhance future modern slavery reporting.
the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in the U.S. and the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) in China launched the IPE Green Supply Chain Map, the only tool in the world to openly link leading multinational corporations to their suppliers’ environmental performance. Based on publicly available data from the Chinese government, IPE’s database and map provide real-time data and historical trends in air pollution emissions and wastewater discharge for nearly 15,000 major industrial facilities in China and access to environmental supervision records for over half a million more.
The yearlong ban on logging across all of Myanmar since April 2016 was lifted at the end of March 2017, and now the Myanmar government says it is on its way to bringing verifiably legal timber to the international market. Although a number of illegal activities were prevented by the government, illegal logging continued during the ban due to insufficiently collaboration. International buyers and local NGOs are concerned that Myanmar is not doing enough to keep its forests safe.
The Brazilian government has revised upward its estimate for the extent of Amazon rainforest destroyed last year. Figures released last week by Brazil’s National Space Research Agency (INPE) put Amazon deforestation at 6,207 square kilometres for the year ended July 31, 2015. That represents an increase of 6.5 percent relative to the estimate of 5,831 square kilometres published last December.
The Ebenezer-Macuma-Taisha highway promised change and work opportunities. By now, only three more miles need to be paved along the Ebenezer-Macuma-Taisha highway in order to finish it. But the federal government suddenly turned against the project, arguing that the road project doesn't follow the technical and environmental norms, and as it is, it affects the water, soil, and vegetation in the area. Meanwhile, the environment ministry will design a management plan for the Kutukú-Shaimi Protected Forest.
As more than two-thirds of deforestation globally have been caused by commercial agriculture, both governments and private sectors have make many promises to tackle the problem. However, neither is likely to achieve goals by working on their own. Forest experts at Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) propose private sectors to work with REDD+ and other government initiatives, laws, and regulations as a new approach to implement forest commitments.
A study published in August in the journal Environmental Research Letters reveals that more than half of the fire emissions originate from outside timber and oil-palm concession boundaries. Several studies have shown a similar finding, which is that the dominant cause of fire in both Sumatra and Kalimantan is rural communities. Only targeting plantation companies as the government and NGOs are doing at the moment won’t work. The Indonesian fire and haze problem is complex, with multiple actors playing a role. To address the problem, the government should be more specific in its management, including law enforcement, localized approaches, taking the costs of development into consideration.
A recent study released by an initiative bringing together the UN’s environment, agriculture and development agencies warns that agriculture is the world largest driver for deforestation, responsible for perhaps 80 percent of deforestation globally. Misguided government subsidies aimed at helping farmers produce food more efficiently often end up leading to deforestation. Governments need to broaden approaches to identifying root causes of deforestation and changing the offending policies.
While deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen sharply over the past decade, a larger share of forest loss is now being driven by smallholders who are more difficult to control, posing new challenges for the Brazilian government.
Tasmania’s government wants to open up nearly 200,000 hectares of their 1.5m hectare world heritage area for logging. The Tasmanian government has stressed that new tourism infrastructure and ‘selective’ logging in the area, which makes up around 20% of the state’s land mass, will boost the state’s struggling economy. Environmentalists claim that this would undermine the essence of world heritage values and The UN has called for a blanket ban on logging and mining in this world heritage area, demanding the Tasmanian government rethink its new management plan for the site.
New research has shown that Brazil and Indonesia paid over $40bn in subsidies to industries that drive rainforest destruction between 2009 and 2012 - compared to $346m in conservation aid they received to protect forests. The report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) encouraged a ‘radical rethink’ of how subsidies for commodities are assigned. ODI identify part of the problem in a lack of coordination between environment ministries and other government departments seeking to protect commodity exports and reduce rural poverty. The ODI have called for subsidy reform allowing a model of forest finance to protect forests and their surrounding rural communities.
Forest 500 identifies, ranks and tracks those who have the ability to eradicate tropical deforestation
A ranking of 50 governments, 250 companies, 150 investors and 50 other ‘power brokers’ aims to illustrate how the most influential parties are handling their own operations when it comes to controlling deforestation. Run by Oxford-based think tank, Global Canopy Programme, the Forest 500 highlights those leading - and those trailing – in addressing forestry issues. Six printing and publishing companies were featured – Bertelsmann, Pearson, R.R. Donnelley, News Corp, APG (subsidiary of Time Publishing & Media), and Advance Publications. Bertelsmann and Pearson both came out on top of the sector rankings. For more on the report and in-depth analysis visit their website.
A report has claimed that the Peruvian government is ignoring the real drivers of deforestation and failing to safeguard the rights of indigenous people who rely on, and are best-placed to protect, the country’s forests. The report, Revealing the Hidden: Indigenous perspectives on deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon, was issued by Peru’s indigenous peoples’ organisation (AIDESEP), and international human rights NGO Forest Peoples Programme (FPP). Conflicting with previous reports that suggest agriculture is mostly to blame (see above), this report suggests the invisible drivers of deforestation have a much more significant impact. These include infrastructure projects, such as the Transoceanic highway, oil, gas and mining projects, palm oil plantations, illegal logging operations, and mega-dam projects. According to the report, roughly 75% of deforestation in Peru occurs within 20km of a road. The report goes on to suggest practical steps to address this deforestation and violation of indigenous peoples’ rights, including: resolving territorial demands; providing legal, financial and technical support; close legal loopholes; and implement robust and independent planning mechanisms to ensure economic interests do not over-ride all other considerations.
The Brazilian government has said forest clearance in the Amazon has decreased by 18% over the past year to July 2014, but environmental NGOs disagree saying their data shows increased rates of forest loss. Brazil’s environment minister, Izabella Teixeira, said approximately 4800km2 was lost between August 2013 and July 2014. This was down from 5900km2 during the same period a year earlier. But WWF and Imazon disagree and say that alternative satellite monitoring systems, different to those used by the government, show a staggering increase in forest loss of over 460%. Ms Teixeira maintained that the official government estimate was the most accurate: “Anything else is speculation. We have been working hard to end deforestation.”