Study shows that 92.2 percent of tree cover loss in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 48.2 percent in the Republic of Congo (ROC) is linked to small-scale shifting cultivation. Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) and World Resources Institute’s Congo team mapped the rural complex of DRC and ROC, with forest fragmentation to differentiate between the rural complex, fragmented forest and undisturbed forest. The DRC and ROC rural complex maps together enable better understanding which loss is caused by shifting cultivation cycling back to previously farmed areas, and which shows new deforestation, degradation or fragmentation.
ECHA has added seven new substances of very high concern (SVHC) to the Candidate List and updated the entry for bisphenol A (BPA) following the SVHC identification process with the involvement of the Member State Committee (MSC). New substances include Chrysene, Benz[a]anthracene, Cadmium nitrate, Cadmium hydroxide, Cadmium carbonate, etc. The BPA entry was updated to reflect an additional reason for inclusion due to its endocrine disrupting properties causing adverse effects to the environment.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) says decking on luxury yachts made in the UK have illegal wood on them. EU rules dictate that point of origin in the chain of sale must be legally-sourced teak from Myanmar. Princess Yachts International and Sunseeker International, both singled out by the EIA in their statement, will be at the London Boat Show this week.
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.
Luxury fashion retailer Hugo Boss said it has found cases of forced labour, a form of modern slavery, in its supply chain. Young female workers have been held captive behind the walls of garment factories in southern India and prevented from leaving the premises at any time.
Latin American countries, regions and cities demonstrated clear ambition and leadership at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) held in Bonn, Germany. Mexico and Costa Rica joined 23 other countries in signing on to a new global coalition committed to phasing out coal and supporting clean power policies and investments, while restricting financing for coal plants. Buenos Aires, Caracas, Mexico City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile were among 25 global cities that committed to develop and implement more ambitious climate action plans before 2020.
US chain store Target has removed two fidget spinner models from sale, after a study from NGO the US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) study found they contained high levels of lead. The federal legal limit is 100 parts per million (ppm) for lead in children’s products, but fidget spinners are classified by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) as general use rather than as children’s products. They are only considered toys if labelled age 12 and under.
Trade association Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) welcomed the European Commission's final Opinion on the tolerable intake of aluminium, with regards to adapting the migration limits in toys. The Commission and its Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (Scheer) Opinion recommends a tolerable daily intake of aluminium, including from sources other than toys, of 0.3mg/kg of body weight per day.
Motion 7 passed at the FSC General Assembly meeting in Vancouver on 13 October, indicating that the organization will pursue a change to its rules allowing companies that have converted forests to plantations since 1994 to go for certification, which is not allowed under current rule. Proponents of a rule change say it would allow more companies to be held to FSC standards and could result in the restoration or conservation of ‘millions of hectares’ in compensation for recent deforestation. Opponents argue that FSC is bending to industry demands and that a rule change will increase the pressure for land conversion on communities and biodiversity.
British fast food restaurants and grocery chains, including Tesco, Morrisons and McDonald’s, buy their chicken from Cargill, which feeds its poultry with imported soy, much of it apparently coming from the Bolivian Amazon and Brazilian Cerrado — areas rapidly being deforested for new soy plantations. Retailers have so far not used their leverage over Cargill to compel it to support a soy moratorium expansion.
Global Forest Watch, in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute and Vizzuality, launched Forest Watcher in September. This is a mobile app that allows users to monitor and report on forest change with real-time forest change data of GFW straight from a mobile device. It directs users to the latest deforestation and fire alerts in their area, and provides the ability to prioritize and collect evidence about what they discover. The app is open source and free to download and use.
Canada harvests an astonishing 1.8 million acres of forested lands per year—an area half the size of Connecticut—and almost all of it is clearcut. But as long as there’s a plan on paper to regenerate that forest, many seem to assume that it is happening, despite limited study of what is actually growing back and how well that regrowth meets the ecological values that were lost following harvest, especially its vast boreal forest. The Government of Canada’s annual "State of Canada’s Forests” report focuses on Canada’s low deforestation rate but didn’t mention at all about “forest degradation”.
After NRDC released powerful evidence of continued logging in boreal forest areas that were placed under a logging moratorium via the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA), Resolute Forest Products came back with a media statement that underscored governments’ role in regulating forest clearcutting. "It’s the Quebec government that gives companies permission to go and harvest on these lands," said company spokesperson Karl Blackburn. “We do not go where we want. We go where the government allows us to go."
During a high-level session at World Water Week in Stockholm, H&M group and WWF announced a new initiative to help Turkey tackle its water challenges, particularly pollution, and ensure sustainable, clean water supplies for businesses, people and nature. The project will focus on improving water management methods and policies in in the Büyük Menderes river basin, which is home to large-scale agriculture and industry, including textile operations, as well as rich biodiversity.
Brazil’s government has abolished a vast national reserve in the Amazon to open up the area to mining. The size of the area will be open to mining is about 30% of Renca which is larger than Denmark. Although the government confirmed the nine conservation and indigenous land areas within it would continue to be legally protected, activists worried that these areas could be badly compromised.
Even as the logging industry lobbies the Canadian government to further delay measures that would protect the country’s diminishing woodland caribou herds, research and satellite images of the boreal released last month by NRDC clearly illustrate the failure of voluntary industry commitments to protect woodland caribou habitat.
Due to the changes of international landscape for businesses and user feedback, the new version SMETA report 6.0 has published since April 2017 and took effect from 1 June 2017. The document outlined the main differences between SMETA 5.0 and the new SMETA 6.0 in terms of UNCP, modern slavery, business ethics, company codes and simplified SMETA.
EU experts have agreed to designate bisphenol A (BPA) as a human endocrine disruptor on top of its current repro-toxic classification, paving the way for an EU phase-out of the chemical. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced that its member state committee voted unanimously to classify the compound, used in polycarbonate plastics, inks and resins, a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under the EU REACH Regulation due to its endocrine-disrupting properties.
A dozen repro-toxic and carcinogenic substances will be phased out from the EU market within the next four years following the publication of the European Commission's decision. Eight repro-toxic substances, seven of them phthalates, will be banned from July 2020, with applications for individual uses accepted until January 2019. Anthracene oil and high-temperature coal-tar pitch must be phased out by October 2020, and the ban on two additional compounds classified as environmental endocrine disruptors will come into force on January 2021.
Major fashion brands are sourcing viscose from factories in China, Indonesia and India which are polluting and damaging health, according to new report. The report cites evidence that carbon disulphide exposure is harming both factory workers and people living near viscose plants. Residential areas nearby the factory are polluted with carbon disulphide levels three times higher than the permitted limit. The report is calling for carbon disulphide to be completely eradicated from the viscose production process, and for all viscose production to occur in a closed loop system which eradicates chemical discharge and prevents harm to workers and the environment. Spokespeople from those brands said they will work continuously with its suppliers to improve conditions and ensure that they adhere to sustainable practices.