A new measure signed into law on 7 Feb by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will enact new regulations on chemicals found in children’s products sold in New York state. The Child Safe Products Act creates and maintains lists of dangerous or questionable chemicals and requires manufacturers to report any substances used in their products. By 2023, the state will ban the sale of products that use certain chemicals, including asbestos, and certain flame retardants. The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for notifying consumers of the presence of dangerous chemicals.
Collected news links from external sources related to topics concerning the Book Chain Project.
New York’s ‘Toxic Toys’ Law: Governor Signs Legislation Regulating Chemicals in Children’s Products, But Changes to the Law Are Already Coming
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.
China's food packaging regulations, announced in November 2016, will take effect on 19 October this year. Violations can result in fines of 20 times the commodity value for manufacturers or importers using unapproved materials, and up to ten times the value for food producers or operators using non-compliant products. However, the clearances for food contact materials (FCMs) could be very different from the substances approved in the EU – many substances currently permitted in the US and Europe are not yet cleared under the Chinese system.
Under 16 and working 16 hours a day ... Chinese clothes factories import cheap child labour from across China
Undercover investigation exposed a large portion of the more than 1,000 apparel manufacturers in Changshu, Jiangsu province, have been using cheap labour from Yunnan province with the help of local agents, and some of the workers are under 16. The workers are underpaid and forced to work for long hours. Forced labour practices such as violence and retention of identity documents were found.
According to a newly released report from a non-profit organization called Forest Trends, in the past few years, imports of rosewood, collectively known as hongmu, from Africa surged, which are prized by Chinese furniture manufacturers who use them to make products that are highly coveted status symbols.
A report on the activities of the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP) in Guatemala show the positive potential impact of community based forest management. The members of ACOFOP include small furniture manufacturers sell products approved by the Rainforest Alliance.
The article refers to a report published last month by the World Resources Institute which investigated both the Guatemalan concessions and a similar model found in Brazil’s indigenous communities in the Amazon. The WRI estimated that Guatemala stood to benefit up to $800 million over the next two decades through community management of forest concessions.
The Indonesian Trade Ministry has defended its stance on a revised regulation annulling the timber legality verification system (SVLK) requirement for exporting 15 downstream products of timber, saying that exporters are still obliged to show proof of environmentally certified material. Under the revised regulation, small to medium-sized exporters are exempted from an obligation to provide SVLK certification and are only required to provide an export declaration without an expiry date. Pulp and paper manufacturers are unlikely to be affected due to their large size. The value of Indonesia’s timber product exports to the EU went up by 8.9 percent from US$593 million in 2013 to $645.9 million last year, accounting for around 9 percent of the total export value of the country’s timber products, according to data from the FLEGT-VPA annual report.
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.
For decades, mahogany, ebony, rosewood and other rare tropical hardwoods have been extensively logged to produce valuable wood products, particularly guitars and other instruments. Increasingly aware of the impacts to forests and communities from over-harvesting, many instrument manufacturers have taken steps to make their supply chains more sustainable. Now, musicians are joining the call to make sure guitars and other instruments are made from legal, sustainably sourced wood. Last week the Environmental Investigation Agency and REVERB released a video featuring artists such as Jason Mraz and Michael Franti urging consumers to find out where their wood comes from.
The American Forest and Paper Association has released its 2014 Sustainability Report, exhibiting the substantial and measureable progress that US pulp, paper, packaging and wood products have made towards achieving sustainability goals. The report outlines how paper mills self-generate most of their energy needs, and most of that energy is renewable and that the forest products industry is the second largest producer of combined heat and power electricity in the manufacturing sector.
The UK government is backing the Tropical Forests Alliance (TFA) 2020. TFA 2020 is a business-led initiative launched by the US government and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) which is a group of over 400 retailers and manufacturers. Although there are no regulatory implications, TFA 2020 aims to provide a forum ‘in which to share best practice with major private companies’ committed to adopting ‘sustainable supply chains’ and to ‘encourage other governments and companies to take similar steps’.
The US House of Representatives will vote this week on a bill called the RELIEF Act (The Retailers and Entertainers Lacey Implementation and Fairness Enforcement Act) which would significantly weaken the use of the Lacey Act to regulate against illegal logging by allowing manufacturers to keep illegal wood and limiting the species and country declaration requirements to solid wood (i.e. pulp and paper would be excluded). The article points to World Bank estimates which suggest that government and businesses suffer more than $10 billion in lost revenue each year due to illegal logging, $1 billion of which is lost by the US.