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.
Germany bans single-use plastic products
Timber from unsustainable logging allegedly being sold in EU as ethical
According to an investigation by the environmental charity Earthsight, in the area of forest - Velykyi Bychkiv within Ukraine, loggers appear to be taking advantage of loopholes that allow for “sanitary felling” during the silent periods in the spring and early summer from 2018 to 2020. Some of the wood in question is found in the supply chain of Swedish furniture maker Ikea, who denied wrongdoing and immediately began their own investigations into all parties mentioned in Earthsight’s report.
The Superpower of Media - Mirrors or Movers II: managing the societal impacts of content
Media has a superpower: the power to shift hearts and minds, and catalyse change. With that power comes great responsibility. Our report examines how media companies proactively manage the social impacts of their content, and how this domain has progressed in recent years.
With a powerful foreword by Christiana Figueres, this report is a progress update and a call to arms for media companies. Media responsibility has often been creative and innovative, putting the sector’s talents to good use. But our research shows that rigour and measurement now also characterise media responsibility. This is timely, because society expects ever more from its media, whether to tell truth, to challenge or to inspire.
Based on learnings gathered from the Mirrors or Movers conference series, the regular discussions of the Responsible Media Forum, and interviews with both media responsibility practitioners and commentators, the report outlines a framework for good practice in content impact measurement, and six steps to impact.
More masks than jellyfish': coronavirus waste ends up in ocean
Covid waste” – dozens of gloves, masks and bottles of hand sanitiser have been found by NGO Operation Mer Prope in the Mediterranean, mixed in with the usual litter of disposable cups and aluminum cans. This is after Hong Kong based NGO OceansAsia raised the alarm earlier on this year, in response to finding masks on the beaches of the uninhabited Soko Islands. This new form of waste could be a sign of things to come in the future.
Indonesian court jails indigenous farmer in conflict with paper giant APP
A farmer from the Sakai indigenous tribe is sentenced to one year in prison with a fine of 200 million rupiah ($13,800) for cutting down 20 acacia and eucalyptus trees planted by PT Arara Abadi (AA), a subsidiary of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), near his home to plant sweet potatoes for his family.
This case is part of a long-standing land conflict between the Sakai indigenous community and AA. Activists have condemned the verdict as the Sakai tribe settled in the land decades before AA obtained its concession.
Titanium Dioxide CMR Carc. 2 classification updates
In October 2019, the 14th ATP (Adaptation to Technical Progress) to the CLP regulation, which includes amendments to Annexes II, III and VI, has been adopted by the European Commission. One of the amendments includes the annex VI entry for titanium dioxide (CAS 13463-67-7) as a carcinogenic category 2 by inhalation route in powder form. This will apply to titanium dioxide in powder form containing 1% or more of particles with a diameter ≤ 10 μm. The classification also requires that mandatory product labelling and warnings will be required for mixtures containing titanium dioxide.
Titanium dioxide is widely used across multiple industries. For example, titanium dioxide is used for the manufacture of chemicals, plastic products, textile, leather or fur, wood and wood products, pulp, paper and paper products, rubber products, coatings and printing inks.
This amendment has been put forward to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers who will have a couple of months to raise any objections. If there are no objections, this amendment will come into force mid-2021.
ECHA adds four substances to REACH candidate list
The European Chemicals Agency has included four more substances on its REACH candidate list of Substances of Very High Concerns (SVHCs), which now contains 205 chemicals. The list comprises of substances that may have serious effects on human health or the environment and which are candidates for eventual inclusion in the Authorization list (Annex XIV).
The substances included in the Candidate List for authorisation on 16 January 2020 are:
• Diisohexyl phthalate (CAS 71850-09-4) – added due to its toxicity to reproduction
• 2-benzyl-2-dimethylamino-4'-morpholinobutyrophenone (CAS 119313-12-1) – added due to its toxicity to reproduction
• 2-methyl-1-(4-methylthiophenyl)-2-morpholinopropan-1-one (CAS 71868-10-5) – added due to its toxicity to reproduction)
• Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) and its salts – added as it causes probable serious effects to human health and the environment
California issues Prop 65 crystalline silica safe use determination
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has issued a Proposition 65 safe use determination (SUD) for exposures to crystalline silica from four specific wood filler products. This determination relates to four Woodwise products, designed for use on hardwood floors, that contain crystalline silica in small amounts.
App to detect SVHCs in articles launched across EU
An app is being launched across the EU that allows consumers to scan products for substances of very high concern (SVHCs). The app – Check Chemistry – has been developed as part of the pan-European AskREACH project. Consumers will be able to use their mobile phones to scan a product’s barcode and gain access to this information.
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.
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.
UK to lead global fight against illegal logging and deforestation
The UK is to spearhead a major global crackdown on illegal timber and deforestation, with plans to form a coalition of developing countries against the trade as part of its hosting of crunch UN climate talks this year. All countries are expected to come forward with tougher plans to reduce global emissions as part of COP 26, and experts have said this will only happen if the UK takes the lead in forming a coalition of small and big developing countries, including forested African nations and Indonesia, as well as major economies such as the US, China, India and the EU. Offering assistance to developing countries, in the form of finance and technical expertise, will be vital to that effort.
Inconsistent business action in response to Covid-19 (novel coronavirus), first reported from Wuhan, China
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.
New York’s ‘Toxic Toys’ Law: Governor Signs Legislation Regulating Chemicals in Children’s Products, But Changes to the Law Are Already Coming
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.
Only 8 companies have made it into this year's Forests A List in the annual CDP reporting round
CDP’s annual A List names the world's most pioneering companies leading on environmental transparency and performance. This year, more than 200 corporates are recognized as leading on Climate Change, Water and Forests. UPM-Kymmene Corporation was one of only 8 companies to achieve the Forests A list in the latest round of CDP disclosures. The other leading companies are: Unilever plc, TETRA PAK, L'Oréal, HP Inc, FUJI OIL HOLDINGS INC., FIRMENICH SA, and Danone.
Read more about the Forests methodology here.
Coronavirus (Covid-2019) - Publisher support for researchers, clinicians and all interest parties
As the situation with Covid-19 continues to develop rapidly, Publishers including Oxford University Press and Wiley have been responding to the global health epidemic by making relevant research quickly and freely available. For the duration of the outbreak, all peer-reviewed publications regarding the outbreak will be made available freely.
China moves to phase out single-use plastics
China is stepping up restrictions on the production, sale and use of single-use plastic products, according to the state planner, as it seeks to tackle one of the country’s biggest environmental problems. Plastic bags to be banned in all major cities by end of 2020, and banned in all cities and towns in 2022, says state planner.
Deforestation can't be stopped by voluntary action alone
This speech by Brian Schatz, Senator from Hawaii (D) was part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 21—24 January 2020. Seeing that half of tropical deforestation is illegal, illegal and unsustainable timber and goods are flooding global markets. Voluntary commitments cannot achieve zero-deforestation without regulation. Regulation is one of the key drivers of sustainable forestry. This year, Schatz will introduce legislation that will make it illegal for companies to import the products of illegal deforestation.
China: Investigation finds labour abuse & sexual harassment at toy factories producing for international brands; Includes company responses
In November 2019, labour rights NGO China Labour Watch (CLW) released a report raising allegations of labour abuses faced by workers at five factories producing for international toy brands in Guangdong Province, China. Abuses documented by CLW include low wages, excessive overtime, inadequate health and safety protections, poor living conditions in worker dormitories, restrictions to freedom of association, discrimination, sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Brand companies (including Disney, Lego, BuzzBee etc.) are taking actions.
- Labour & Environment
- Business and Human Rights
- China Labour Watch
- excessive overtime
- gender-based violence
- Guangdong Province
- inadequate health and safety protections
- Labour abuse
- labour abuse & sexual harassment
- labour rights NGO
- Low wages
- Poor living conditions
- restrictions to freedom of association
- sexual harassment
Chinese Govt releases regulation on guaranteeing wages for migrant workers
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.