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.
The Draft National Forest Policy 2018 is now open for public comments, and will replace the older 1988 policy once it comes into force. Critics are apprehensive about how the draft policy deals with community participation and industrial forestry. The current draft is bereft of knowledge-driven solutions, some experts say.
A report by WRI shows ongoing deforestation in an oil palm concession in Papua, Indonesia, operated by a subsidiary of South Korea’s POSCO Daewoo. The company has responded by saying its operations in Papua are legal and fully permitted.
Concerns over deforestation by POSCO Daewoo have prompted other companies to say they will not allow its palm oil into their supply chains. These include big-name brands such as Clorox, Colgate Palmolive, IKEA, L’Oreal, Mars and Unilever. POSCO Daewoo has issued a temporary moratorium on land clearing in its Papua concession and hired a consultant to advise it on how to proceed with its operations there.
Delivery firm DPD, under scrutiny after work pressures were blamed for the death of one of its drivers, is offering its 6,000 drivers holiday and sick pay as part of a new contract.
Invisible coercion through withheld wages, lack of employment contracts, and discrimination of migrant workers is widespread in China's construction sector. Wage arrears protests have been booming in the months leading up to the New Year on 16 February. Far from every protest gets violent, but when they do, losses are bigger than just the annual pay.
Forced labour among ordinary workers on China’s ordinary labour market receives vanishing little attention from the inter¬national community.
The International Labour Organization launched a commission of inquiry on Wednesday into complaints that Venezuela is violating standards including freedom of association and workers’ rights to organize. The last such ILO investigation involved Zimbabwe in 2008 and there have been only 12 in the past 60 years, including on forced labor under Myanmar’s military junta.
Printing company Tat Seng Packaging Group (Singapore) pleaded guilty to three counts under the Sewerage and Drainage (Trade Effluent) Regulations and was fined in January $4,000 on each count. Another charge was taken into consideration during sentencing.
It had been caught four times for polluting Singapore's sewers with toxic industrial used water. But that did not stop printing company Tat Seng Packaging Group from illegally discharging copper-tainted water yet again in September 2016.
Hardwood Dimensions, a timber importer in the U.K., violated the EU Timber Regulation by not properly verifying the legality of a shipment of Cameroonian ayous in January 2017. A judge ordered Hardwood Dimensions to pay 4,000 pounds ($5,576) plus court costs in the case. The case calls into question the effectiveness of Forest Stewardship Council certification, which Hardwood Dimensions has held since 2000.
European Commission releases its 2017 report on the Rapid Alert System for dangerous products. In 2017, 'toys' was notified as product with the most risk (29%), followed by 'motor vehicles' (20%), and 'clothing, textiles and fashion items' (12%).
The majority of dangerous products notified in the system came from outside the EU. China is the number one country of origin, but the number of alerts remains stable at 53% (1,155) in 2017, same as the year before. The Commission continues to cooperate closely with Chinese authorities, working together to discuss specific cases and implement actions, such as exchange of good practices. Dangerous products of European origin accounted for 413 notifications (26%).
Labor and human rights violations in Apple’s global supply chain have doubled in the span of a year, a new report has revealed. The company’s Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, released on Wednesday, detailed several “core violations” that were discovered following an audit of the working conditions of its supply chain employees across 30 countries. Apple trained more than 3 million supplier employees on their rights last year and tracked the working hours of 1.3 million people on a weekly basis.
Abuses included labor violations, the falsification of working hours, harassment and underage staff. Apple conducted 756 audits in total and its report detailed some of the violations that were considered to be “serious breaches of compliance.”
NRDC is working alongside the Waswanipi Cree First Nation to protect the last of their intact boreal forest homeland from Quebec’s aggressive logging proposal. Quebec’s plan would be devastating for the Waswanipi, who have already had more than 90 percent of their traditional hunting grounds, located in the old-growth forests of the boreal forest, severely impacted by industrial logging. In addition, the expanded logging would destroy critical habitat for the threatened boreal caribou, and degrade an ecosystem crucial to mitigating global climate change.
In a recent referendum, 67.5 percent of Ecuador’s voting population voted in favor increasing Yasuní National Park’s Intangible Zone by at least 50,000 hectares and reducing the oil extraction area in the park from 1,030 to 300 hectares. Ishpingo Field, which forms part of Block 43 of the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) Initiative, is the only field that has not yet been exploited. Drilling was slated to begin there in mid-2018, but the referendum’s “yes” vote may prevent exploitation. Ishpingo is located on Yasuni’s Intangible Zone, which protects Indigenous communities living in voluntary isolation. Environmentalists hope that a technical commission will be formed to define where the Intangible Zone will expand.
The toy industry has assured consumers that risk from chemicals in secondhand plastic toys is low, following a study in the UK that revealed the presence of hazardous elements. Research carried out at the University of Plymouth tested 200 toys from schools, charity shops and family homes for the presence of: antimony; arsenic; barium; cadmium; chromium; lead; mercury; selenium; and bromine (as a proxy for brominated flame retardants).
Promising Future Project will be lunched in February in 2018 for suppliers in Book Chain Project. Promising Future Project is a 10-brand initiative carried out in 2016 and 2017 to promote interest in China’s social insurance scheme by factory workers. The project was created and delivered by Carnstone Asia, and supported by the Ethical Trading Initiative’s Hong Kong office. Phase 1 of Promising Future included the production of a 12-minute drama about the story of a worker called Xiao Li and her journey to find out about the benefits of joining social insurance, and the risks if she doesn’t. It also included creation of this information website for workers, and a factory manager webinar.
The Summit is going to take place on Tuesday 24th April 2018, which brings together organisations across the pulp, paper and publishing supply chain. The Summit will focus on learning about the latest developments in responsible forest sourcing, and an opportunity to share practical advice for paper makers on sourcing fibre responsibly. A wide range of attendees including paper mills from across Asia, participating publishers of Book Chain, NGO’s, representatives from certification schemes (FSC and CFCC) and technology providers will be invited. To register for the event, please sign up here.
Following the evaluation of the effectiveness and functioning of the EUTR during its first two years of application, it was noted that the EUTR covers a significant number of timber products, but not all are included in its scope. The evaluation concluded that the European Commission may consider amending the product scope, subject to an impact assessment of options. The European Commission is therefore undertaking an impact assessment to analyse possible changes to the EUTR product scope. As part of this impact assessment process and in line with the European Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines, an extensive consultation of stakeholders is being carried out. The main aim of this public consultation is to gather views and evidence on possible changes to the EUTR product scope.
An Iranian oil tanker that collided with a Hong Kong bulk freighter in the East China Sea is creating a new problem now that it has sunk. The oil tanker was carrying close to 150,000 tons of condensate, a light oil, when it crashed. It is unclear how much of the oil had burned off or spilled when it sank. Unlike crude oil, which can create chronic environmental problems by sinking to the deep ocean and lingering there for years, hydrocarbon condensate is much lighter, evaporating or dissolving into water. That means short-term toxicity might be a bigger concern with this spill.
Environment secretary Michael Gove has approved emergency cash for Brexit preparations at DEFRA, after the department’s top civil servant warned that there could be “severe disruption to vital public services” without it.
Clare Moriarty, DEFRA’s permanent secretary, wrote to Gove on 18 January to request the extra funding. She requested funding for six specific projects, including £5.8m for new IT capability to enable registration and regulation of chemicals placed on the UK market. Work on this is scheduled to begin in February 2018.
DEFRA also needs £500,000 to develop a UK system to manage the quota of fluorinated gases and ozone depleting substances required under the UN Montreal Protocol. This work is scheduled to begin in March.
On January 1, 2018, the Chinese government implemented a new environmental tax policy, effectively ending the pollutant discharge fee that had been in effect for the past 40 years. The Environmental Protection Tax marks the beginning of a slew of new policies aimed at getting China’s pollution under control and will undoubtedly affect businesses, especially manufacturing firms.
Trader Joe’s, the grocer known for its eclectic products, will remove two controversial substances from its register receipts, according to the company’s website. Sample of store receipts shows widespread use of BPA and substance is linked to hormone-disrupting effects in children.