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July 30, 2016

England's plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced

Rebecca Smithers
Saturday 30 July 2016 00.01 BST

The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October, early figures suggest.

More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500m in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

The data is the government’s first official assessment of the impact of the charge, which was introduced to help reduce litter and protect wildlife - and the expected full-year drop of 6bn bags was hailed by ministers as a sign that it is working.

The charge has also triggered donations of more than £29m from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups, according to Defra. England was the last part of the UK to adopt the 5p levy, after successful schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Retailers with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees have to charge a minimum of 5p for the bags they provide for shopping in stores and for deliveries, but smaller shops and paper bags are not included. There are also exemptions for some goods, such as raw meat and fish, prescription medicines, seeds and flowers and live fish.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

July 28, 2016

PRIMES project highlights good practice in green public procurement

A series of good practice case studies have been published which show how GPP is being implemented in smaller municipalities. The case studies were developed through the EU funded PRIMES project. They focus on the product categories that have been found to be particularly relevant when it comes to the implementation of green public procurement in smaller municipalities. These include energy efficient street lighting, sustainable construction works, procuring energy efficient ICT products, and green electricity.

PRIMES is an EU funded project that aims to develop basic skills and provide hands-on support for public procurers in order to overcome barriers and implement Green Public Procurement (GPP). The project is offering good GPP practice examples from several smaller and medium sized municipalities of six European countries (Croatia, Denmark, France, Italy, Latvia and Sweden.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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category : Topics

July 26, 2016

900,000 tonnes of CO2 savings achieved by GPP2020 project

26 July 2016

As highlighted by July’s 2016 GPP News Alert, the EU-funded GPP2020 project, through its green procurement activities, predicts an environmental saving of 900,000 tonnes of CO2. The savings estimation amounts to 956,000 barrels of crude oil, or the content of over fifteen oil tankers.

The GPP2020 project has been working with public procurers in Europe to implement innovative, environmentally-friendly tenders within the scope of easing purchases of low-carbon goods and services. Over the course of three years, more than 100 tenders were implemented by over 40 public authorities in nine countries.

Examples of green procurement go from more energy-efficient commercial dishwashers in Germany to the joint procurement of an energy performance contract for Italian hospital. The latter having managed to save, respectively, the equivalent of 207 flights from Barcelona to Ljubljana, and the equivalent of the power needed to light 341 football stadiums each year.

Read more at Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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category : Topics

July 26, 2016

UK cosmetics firm Lush says mission for slavery-clean supply chain never ending

Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday 26 July 2016

As British retailer Lush expands globally, the head of ethical buying at the handmade cosmetics company says he is facing an almost impossible challenge - ensuring all products are free of slave labour and other human rights abuses.

Simon Constantine, the son of two of Lush’s founders, said sales doubling and an almost 50 per cent jump in profits to 31 million pounds ($40 million) since 2013 created the potential for wider social impact by sourcing from more local communities.

But he said this growth had also opened a labyrinth of new problems for privately-owned Lush - which prides itself on products ethically sourced, environmentally friendly and not tested on animals - particularly as it expands in Asia.

Founded on an ethos to do good while doing business and campaigning on social issues, Lush vowed in 2014 to stop using mica from India in cosmetics as child labour was found to be rife in the industry.

The company also refuses to use sandalwood from India for similar worker concerns, instead sourcing from Australia, and has drastically reduced its use of palm oil, concerned about deforestation, human rights abuses and slavery in that industry.

Constantine, known by Lush’s staff as the “guerrilla perfumer” for combining campaigns on issues like fox hunting and gay rights with his role as the firm’s head perfumer, said expanding to around 930 stores in almost 50 countries had thrown up challenges and the best Lush could do was to be totally open about its efforts to be clean.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

July 21, 2016

3 considerations when solving the “stuff conundrum”

By Kevin Moss
Thursday 21 July 2016

We face a conundrum. The population is growing and expected to reach 9 billion people between 2040 and 2050. If world governments and civil society are successful in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, billions of people will rise out of poverty. And 9 billion people consuming as much stuff — food, clothing, gas and merchandise — as today’s average middle class person will simply strip the planet bare.

The answer to this conundrum is to reinvent our business models in the context of this new reality. Improving efficiency is not enough. We need to reengineer our current model of pulling material out of the earth and then tossing waste into landfills.

On July 7, 2016 I moderated a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. hosted by the Embassy of The Netherlands. The panelists represented companies embracing what we call the “circular economy,” or an economic model by which waste is not just avoided, but is completely re-envisaged. They shared three insights on how the circular economy can work for consumers, for businesses and for the planet:

1) Bake circular design into the business model.
For each of these companies, circular design was a priority at the early stages of business model development. gDiapers, a compostable diaper company based in Australia, was founded by a husband and wife after they became parents and were shocked by the amount of diaper waste they produced.

Inashco, a Dutch company, formed to make use of the metals and minerals that can be harvested from the ash of industrial incinerators. And Philips, the lighting manufacturer, is now moving toward providing lighting services rather than individual light bulbs alone. For example, the company holds a 10-year lighting maintenance contract with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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category : Topics

July 21, 2016

Starbucks trials recyclable cups in move to tackle landfill waste

Rebecca Smithers
Thursday 21 July 2016 09.59 BST

Starbucks will trial a fully recyclable coffee cup in its UK shops, which could eventually divert huge numbers of cups away from landfill.

The cup, invented by the entrepreneur and engineer Martin Myerscough, aims to reduce the environmental impact of the 2.5 billion paper coffee cups used in the UK each year. Earlier this year it emerged that only one in 400 were recycled and the rest sent to landfill or incineration. This led to calls for a ban, an idea the government rejected.

Conventional takeaway cups produced in bulk are made from paper but are laminated with plastic, making them difficult to recycle.

The Frugalpac cup, which launches on Thursday, has a thin film liner designed to separate easily from the paper in the recycling process. This leaves 100% paper, which can be recycled.

The cups will feature in a forthcoming television investigation by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. For his next War on Waste documentary, which airs on BBC1 on 28 July, the chef and campaigner has challenged major coffee shop chains to explain why more cups are not recycled and consumers not given better information about environmentally friendly disposal. But Starbucks, one of the UK’s largest coffee chains, is set to be the first retailer to test the product, saying it will trial the Frugalpac cup in some branches.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

July 21, 2016

Walmart releases high priority chemical list

Kelly Franklin
21 July 2016

US giant retailer Walmart has revealed a list of eight “high priority chemicals (HPCs)” that it has been targeting to phase out from products on its shelves.

The announcement comes three months after Walmart reported that it had achieved a 95% by weight reduction of these HPCs, from certain products sold in US locations.

The HPCs were selected from Walmart's broader list of priority chemicals, and were identified by such criteria as listing status on authoritative hazard lists, high volume of use and exposure, and consideration of emerging regulations and stakeholder concern.

The HPCs, identified for suppliers to phase out, are:

- toluene;
- dibutyl phthalate (DBP);
- diethyl phthalate (DEP);
- nonylphenol exthoxylates (NPEs, encompassing nine individual Cas numbers);
- formaldehyde;
- butylparaben;
- propylparaben; and
- triclosan (except when present as an active ingredient providing therapeutic benefit, and approved by the FDA New Drug Application process).

In addition to revealing the eight chemicals, Walmart disclosed chemical volume reduction figures and details around ingredient transparency efforts.

Walmart launched its policy on sustainable chemistry in consumables in 2013. It seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals of concern from personal care, paper, cleaning, pet and baby products it sells, covering approximately 90,000 individual products from 700 suppliers.

Read more at ChemicalWatch.

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category : Topics

July 21, 2016

Personal care firms not coming clean on microbeads, says Greenpeace

posted by Francis Churchill
21 July 2016

Greenpeace is calling for a total ban on the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetic products, saying self imposed pledges are not working.

Microbeads are small pieces of plastic less than five millimeter wide, often added to toothpastes, scrubs and other cosmetic products for their exfoliating effect or for aesthetics.

The particles are too small to be filtered out by sewage treatment plants and as a result are often washed into seas or rivers where they have been found to damage ecosystems. Microbeads have also been found in seafood.

The USA has already banned the sale of products containing microbeads, and Canada is working on legislation to do the same.

A petition to ban the use of microbeads in the UK has reached 330,000.

However, Greenpeace says the brands who claim to be voluntarily ending their use of microbeads are “creating loopholes” by using their own “narrow or confusing definitions of what constitutes a microbead”.

“These definitions can vary from function of the product, rold of the microbead and even the shape of the microbead, creating loopholes that could allow the inclusion of microbeads that don’t fit into these limited definitions,” said Greenpeace.

Greenpeace has also ranked 30 of the largest cosmetic and personal care brands on their efforts to end the use of microbeads.

Each company was given a score out of 400 based on their transparency, their definition of microbeads, the scope of products they are including and the deadline they have set themselves.

Read more at Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

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category : Topics

July 21, 2016

TetraPak 'Embracing Value from Natural Capital,' Encouraging CPG Industry to Do the Same

by Sustainable Brands
July 21, 2016

Closing gaps in knowledge and improving understanding about the benefits of renewable materials can have a transformative effect on the economy and the environment, according to findings in a new report from Tetra Pak.

The report, Embracing Value From Natural Capital: Advancing Packaging Solutions that Consumers Want and Companies Can Provide, explores opportunities for the CPG industry to take advantage of growing consumer preference for packaging made with renewable materials, as part of the solution to natural resource scarcity. The report also highlights some hurdles that must be addressed, including cost concerns among companies and the need for greater alignment around ongoing education and outreach to consumers.

Tetra Pak’s report is based on knowledge gathered through the company’s series of Learning Labs held throughout 2015, as part of its Moving to the Front campaign encouraging consumer goods companies to embrace renewable packaging to help address the impacts of resource scarcity on their businesses. Through surveys, dialogues and roundtable discussions with industry leaders and consumers, insights were collected and barriers to using renewable materials — real and perceived — were examined.

The report cites four factors that have hindered increased adoption of renewable materials:

- Communication gaps and misunderstandings around definitions and vocabulary associated with renewable materials;
- Complexity around perceived required transformations of manufacturing infrastructure and supply chain systems;
- Cost concerns that hamper C-level endorsement of investments in changes or new practices and/or technologies; and
- Consumer demand, which is dependent on more education and information.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

July 20, 2016

Second InnProBio factsheet focuses on sustainability

The InnProBio team has issued its second factsheet, entitled Sustainability of bio-based products. This publication explains what the basis for sustainable bio-based products is. Importantly, just being a non-fossil feedstock is not enough, and considerations such as the agricultural practices for the cultivation of the biomass, the energy used in the production process, or the process agents such as chemicals and solvents, need to be taken into account.

This second factsheet contains detailed information about feedstocks, the end-of-life of bio-based products, and how to measure environmental impacts using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Product Carbon Footprint (PCF). There is also a section on certifications and labels that can help public procurers to define their requirements regarding bio-based products in their public tenders.

Read more at the Sustainable Procurement Platform.

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category : Topics

July 20, 2016

Microbeads report reveals loopholes in pledges by biggest firms

Damian Carrington
Wednesday 20 July 2016 12.25 BST

Loopholes in the voluntary pledges by the biggest personal care companies to phase out polluting microbeads have been revealed in a report from Greenpeace, which says a legal ban is needed.

Tiny plastic beads are widely used in toiletries and cosmetics but thousands of tonnes wash into the sea every year, where they harm wildlife and can ultimately be eaten by people, with unknown effects on health. A petition signed by more than 300,000 people asking for a UK ban was delivered to the prime minister in June A US law banning microbeads was passed at the end of 2015.

The Greenpeace report surveyed the world’s top 30 personal care companies and found that even those ranked highest came up short of the standard they deemed acceptable.

One of the leaders, Colgate-Palmolive, said it stopped using of plastic microbeads at the end of 2014, but Greenpeace said the pledge only applied to products used for “exfoliating and cleansing”. Microbeads can be used in moisturisers, makeup, lip balms, shaving foams and other products.

One of the lowest-ranked companies was Estée Lauder, which says it “is currently in the process of removing exfoliating plastic beads in the small number of our products that contain them”. Greenpeace said the company’s commitment is too narrow, applying only to microbeads used for exfoliating, and does not set a deadline.

Read more at The Guardian.

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category : Topics

July 19, 2016

ByFusion: Creating the Building Blocks for Tackling Ocean Waste

by Tom Idle
July 19, 2016

“It’s all about timing,” says Gregor Gomory, CEO of ByFusion, a startup he believes is about to take advantage of a “perfect storm” brewing as the world wakes up to the enormous problem of plastic waste filling up our oceans.

By now, we’ve all heard the statistics: By 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The 4-12 million tonnes of plastic that is spewed into our waters ever year is a problem that can no longer be ignored.

In the throes of developing a process for creating construction blocks out of straw bales – and filled with TV news images of his beautiful country’s ocean-waste mountain – New Zealand-based inventor and engineer Peter Lewis had a light-bulb moment: What if all of this plastic waste could somehow be put to good use? He played around with some ideas and soon realised that plastic boasted similar thermal properties to straw bales and, if presented in the right way, could be used in construction, too. A prototype technology was created, but for a “variety of reasons” the idea stalled due to fundraising issues.

Fast-forward several years and Gomory and his team have well and truly revived the concept and, buoyed by a landscape of renewed interest in environmentalism – the “perfect storm” he describes – are finally realising Lewis’ original vision.

“We purchased the IP and developed a platform to bring the concept to the US and to do things at a much larger scale; our timing was much better,” Gomory says, pointing to a waste management sector still reeling from plummeting oil prices and finding it more expensive to sell recycled plastic than it is for manufacturers to make it.

So now, ByFusion takes plastic waste in any shape or form, feeds it into its machine (kind of like a giant washing machine) and creates blocks, known as RePlast. These are the same size and shape as the conventional concrete blocks most commonly used in US construction projects

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

July 18, 2016

Indonesia’s palm oil permit moratorium to last five years

In April, Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo declared a moratorium on new licenses to establish palm oil plantations, a decision welcomed by advocates for the environment and indigenous rights.

More of the details have since emerged. On Friday, the chief economics minister announced that the government was preparing to formalize the moratorium by issuing a presidential instruction, one of several forms the policy could have taken.

The moratorium will last five years, Darmin Nasution said after a meeting with cabinet colleagues.

“We want to reorganize the lands already planted with oil palm, including by increasing production and replanting,” Nasution said.

The Environment and Forestry Ministry has already moved to follow up on the moratorium announcement. In May, the ministry, which must approve the release of land from Indonesia’s vast forest zone so that it can be developed, rejected all outstanding requests to plant oil palm there, sparing a total of 851,000 hectares (3,300 square miles) from conversion.

Read more at MONGABAY.

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category : Topics

July 15, 2016

Montreal Joins the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement

The city of Montreal, Canada, has signed the commitment to join the Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement, a group of 13 cities engaged to drive a transition to sustainable consumption and production by implementing sustainable and innovation procurement.

Montréal has already in place a Community Sustainable Development Plan, with the objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, keeping families in the city, consuming less water, improving the quality of runoff water, recovering the waste, making the city a leader in green economy, increasing the number of environmental certifications, improving its green infrastructures and showing solidarity, demonstrating equity and handling succession planning.

Furthermore, the STM (Société de Transport de Montréal) released its sustainable procurement tools to the public domain. The public corporation aims to have 90% of its contracts include sustainable development criteria by 2020. In 2014, the STM consolidated its sustainable procurement approach by publishing guidelines and two handbooks to facilitate the application.

For more information, visit glcn-on-sp.org.

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category : Topics

July 14, 2016

Trending: Yet More Actions to Redistribute, Reduce, Recycle Food Waste in the UK

by Sustainable Brands
July 14, 2016

Found to be the worst-performing European country in terms of food waste in a 2015 study, the United Kingdom (UK) certainly seems to be setting a new course. Over the past year, numerous initiatives have been launched in the fight against food waste, including a TV show, zero-waste restaurants and ales, a one-of-a-kind Mr Potato Head and even a town for testing waste-reducing ideas. And just in the past week, a campaign to boost local food waste-to-energy was launched, a five-point action plan for reducing household and commercial food waste was released, and a grocer expanded its redistribution trials for frozen and perishable food.

While respectively 56 and 86 percent of communities in Scotland and Wales have separate food collection, England’s collection rate sits at just 31 percent. A new report from food waste recycling company Bio Collectors notes that only 18 of London’s 33 boroughs (just under 55 percent) are collecting food waste separately. What’s more, only half of the capital’s food waste is being treated in the city, while its anaerobic digestion (AD) plants are currently operating at just 50 percent capacity. Sending London’s food waste to areas such as Warwickshire to be treated is creating an extra 206 kilograms in carbon emissions per journey, according to the report.

In response, Bio Collectors launched a campaign urging London councils to turn to local AD plants. With only four biomethane and combined heat and power (CHP) plants located within the capital, the report asserts that more should be done by authorities and businesses to ensure that they are running at full capacity before waste is transported out. Bio Collectors suggested that this discrepancy is creating a £50 million burden for waste authorities, while also generating around 2.1 million in extra carbon emissions.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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July 14, 2016

Ben & Jerry's and Ford Are Embracing Climate Disruption - and Your Company Needs to, as Well

by Tim Greiner
July 14, 2016

Is your business embracing the disruptive forces of a low-carbon world as Ford and Ben & Jerry’s are? Over the next 10 years, climate change will drive industrial disruption at rates that previously seemed unimaginable. In response, policy makers must come to terms with the need to keep the mean global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Hyperbole, you say? We are already seeing rampant climate-induced change in every corner of the economy. Just look at the food, transportation, and energy sectors. According to the IPCC, climate change has already reduced wheat, rice and corn mean yield in tropical and temperate zones and will continue to do so. New U.S. CAFE rules are driving innovation in the automotive sector. The largest U.S. coal company recently filed for bankruptcy. These changes will be as big or bigger than the technology-induced disruptions at the turn of the century, such as new business models (Amazon), new industries (smartphones), and democratized information (Google).

Businesses intent solely on driving manufacturing efficiencies in their operations and tweaking logistics and packaging will not take us to the 80-90 percent GHG reductions needed by 2050. Companies limiting themselves to these approaches will find themselves displaced by startups with new models or competitors with a more comprehensive strategy based on product innovation.

Read more Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

July 14, 2016

Just 14% of firms have made proper sustainability pledges, says WWF

posted by Andrew Allen

A mere handful of leading consumer goods companies and retailers have taken meaningful steps to sustainably source soft commodities such as paper or soy, a report claims.

A study by WWF found only 14% of consumer goods companies had made measurable time-bound commitments to sustainably source palm oil, paper, soy, sugarcane or farmed fish according to standards recommended by WWF.

Slow Road to Sustainability analysed 256 consumer goods companies representing combined annual sales of more than $3.5tn globally, including Kimberly-Clark, Waitrose, Unilever, Kao Corporation and Royal Ahold.

All were members of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), the trade body representing consumer goods companies.

Only 22 of companies, or 9%, have made measurable and time-bound commitments to source all or the majority of the commodities needed for their business according to other standards WWF considered credible.

In many cases commitments were imprecise, leading to questions of transparency.

Only 42% of the companies publish sustainability information in their annual report or a separate sustainability report.

Read more at Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

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July 14, 2016

Scientists call for better plastics design to protect marine life

Fiona Harvey
Thursday 14 July 2016 15.25 BST

Plastics should be better designed to encourage recycling and prevent wasteful single-use containers finding their way into our oceans, where they break up into small pieces and are swallowed by marine animals, scientists said on Thursday.

This could be as effective as a ban on microbeads, proposed by green campaigners as a way of dealing with the rising levels of microplastic waste - tiny pieces of near-indestructible plastic materials - that are harming marine life.

Richard Thompson, professor of marine biology at Plymouth University, told an experts’ briefing in London that better design was a key element in combating the rapidly growing problem: “The irony is that if most of these materials were better designed, they could be better recycled, and we could capture them. That would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need to change the way we do this.”

As an example, he pointed to plastic bottles - clear bottles have a recycling value five times higher than those that have been dyed, as the pigment is hard to remove. But the pigments serve no useful purpose other than perceived aesthetics. “They are there because of marketing.”

Thompson added: “You can’t ban microplastics [because they are made up of many different sources of plastics, which are broken down in oceans]. You can ban microbeads, but this should not be seen as the end of action [to tackle the problem].”

Microbeads, which are used in cosmetics and hygiene products such as toothpaste, have been found to affect the growth of fish larvae and persist in the guts of creatures, from mussels to fish, that swallow them.

Read more at the Guardian.

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July 13, 2016

Call to Action- Acting Together for Our Future Sustainability: The 12th Asia-Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production Convened in Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia. The 12th Asia-Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production (APRSCP) entitled "Call to Action- Acting Together for our Future Sustainability," was held from 12-13 July 2016 at the Apsara Angkor Hotel. Around 300 participants from Asia-Pacific countries representing governments, the private sector, civil society groups, and academia were in attendance.

"There is growing awareness both in Asia and in Europe of the need to take environmental issues better into account when producing and consuming. This round table will contribute both to a change in the culture of consumption and to implementation of the practical steps that are urgently required," said H.E. Mr. George Edgar, Ambassador of the European Union to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The meeting was organized by the Asia Pacific Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (APRSCP) and was hosted by the Kingdom of Cambodia's Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the International Institute for Scientific Research (IISR). The 12th APRSCP was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through the SWITCH-Asia Regional Policy Support Component (RPSC) of the European Union (EU).

Read more this article at SCP Clearinghouse.
For more information about the 12th APRSCP, visit http://www.aprscp.net/12th-APRSCP/index.html.

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July 13, 2016

UK urges chemical firms to press on with 2018 registrations

Following the UK’s decision on 23 June to leave the EU, the government is seeking to ensure that there will still be a high level of compliance with the 2018 REACH registration deadline, and that potential disruption to supply chains is kept to a minimum.

The environment ministry (Defra) and the Health and Safety Executive, which is the UK REACH competent authority, will carry out a number of projects, focusing on the registration deadline, that are additional to its usual business.

These will include research, analysis and targeting of issues and messages, capacity building, SME tools and communications.

The projects will aim to ensure there is a good level of awareness, among chemical manufacturers and importers, of their registration obligations, and that companies understand the need to act early and to work with others to share data and costs. SMEs, which are expected to account for a high proportion of registrants, will be paid particular attention.

Another goal is to minimise the amount of animal testing that is commissioned and to promote alternative test methods, through building understanding among laboratories and pre-registrants.

In addition, government advisory body the UK Chemicals Stakeholder Forum has established a REACH 2018 subgroup, which will help to identify substances and sectors where potential concerns may arise.

Read more at Chemical Watch.

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July 13, 2016

Majority of Global Seafood Consumers Putting Sustainability Concerns Over Price, Brand

by Sustainable Brands
July 13, 2016

The largest-ever global analysis of attitudes toward seafood consumption, released today, has found that sustainability is a key driver for seafood purchases: Across 21 countries, sustainability is rated more highly than price and brand, with nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of seafood consumers agreeing that in order to save the oceans, shoppers should only consume seafood from sustainable sources. More than half (54 percent) said they are prepared to pay more for a certified sustainable seafood product.

This is in contrast to purchasing motivations among shoppers of other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), where price and brand typically outrank sustainabilityin driving purchase decisions.

The consumer perceptions survey was carried by independent research and insights company GlobeScan, on behalf of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Over 16,000 seafood consumers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA (with at least 600 respondents from each country) took part in the research.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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category : Topics

July 13, 2016

Action to cut food waste gains momentum across Europe

France’s ban on supermarkets throwing away unwanted food has led to greater calls for laws on food waste, campaigners say

Arthur Neslen in Brussels
Wednesday 13 July 2016 07.00 BST

Efforts to force supermarkets and other businesses to waste less food are gaining momentum following France’s ban on supermarkets throwing out unwanted food, according to campaigners.

Earlier this month MEPs voted 600 to 48 to bring forward laws to end unfair trading practices by supermarkets, many of which lead to overproduction and food being wasted.

Binding laws to halve food waste across the continent by 2030 were also demanded in a separate report by the parliament’s environment committee, after the European commission ditched food waste targets from a draft law last year.

Backing for the report in an upcoming plenary vote would set the scene for a showdown with the commission and EU nations, as parliamentary consent is needed to pass the package.

Simona Bonafe, the report’s author, told the Guardian: “While 800 million people in the world go hungry every day, nearly 100m tonnes of Europe’s food is wasted each year. This is a paradox of our time that is no longer bearable. At last, we have the opportunity to structure our legislation to prevent food waste in the EU.”

The EU currently has no legally binding food waste targets but Norbert Kurilla, the environment minister for Slovakia, which holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, was adamant that they were needed.

Read more at the Guardian.

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July 13, 2016

Chile’s Capital Wins 2017 Sustainable Transport Award

SANTIAGO, Chile, July 13, 2016 (ENS) – Chile’s capital city, Santiago, has just been awarded the honor of hosting Mobilize 2017, the new annual Sustainable Transport Summit put on by the New York-based multinational Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Over the past year, Santiago has made major improvements in pedestrian space, cycling, and public transit that earned it the ITDP’s recognition.

Established in 2005, the Sustainable Transport Award has been given each year to a city that has implemented innovative sustainable transportation projects in the preceding year.

The award recognizes “profound leadership, vision, and achievement in sustainable transportation and urban livability,” says the ITDP on its website.

Such strategies improve mobility for all residents, reduce transportation greenhouse and air pollution emissions, and improve safety and access for cyclists and pedestrians. Finalists are selected by an international committee of development experts and organizations working on sustainable transport.

Read more at Environment News Service.

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July 13, 2016

Singapore to introduce legislation on sustainable packaging

By Vaidehi Shah
Wednesday 13 July 2016

Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) will be introducing mandatory requirements for companies to use sustainable resources in packaging and reduce packaging waste in the next three to five years, the country’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli announced on Tuesday.

The agency is still deciding on what forms the regulations could take, but preliminary ideas include requiring companies to submit annual reports on how much packaging it uses, to develop waste reduction plans, or to meet recycling targets.

In an opening address at the 3R Packaging Awards ceremony at the sidelines of the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore 2016, Masagos noted that the country produced 1.73 million tonnes of domestic waste last year, and one-third of this was from packaging.

While the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) - a voluntary initiative by NEA, industry and waste management associations, companies, and non-government organisations to reduce waste - has made “commendable” efforts since it was signed in 2007, much more work is needed, he said.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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July 8, 2016

Turning Olympic food waste into nutritious meals for the needy

08 July 2016, Rome-Every year around one-third of worldwide food production is wasted or lost around the globe, entailing the simultaneous loss of all the resources - water, soil, agricultural inputs, feed - that went into its production.

The environmental impact of food loss and waste is enormous: A recent FAO study calculated that global food waste would, if calculated as a country, be the world's third-largest greenhouse gas emitter. Meanwhile, a third of all cultivated soils produce food that will never be eaten.

The good news is that initiatives to combat this trend are proliferating at the global level. Among these is the "Reffetto-Rio" project, an initiative presented in Rome today in the presence of Director-General José Graziano da Silva and Maurizio Martina, Italy's minister of agricultural policies.

Thanks to the "Reffetto-Rio" project, surplus food from the Olympic Village during the Olympic Games about to commence in Rio de Janeiro will be recovered and turned into nutritious meals for distribution to the neediest. At the same time, cooking and nutrition classes will be given for the benefit of youth and those in difficulty. Volunteers have been invited to participate alongside 45 chefs from around the world in this project.

The initiative was conceived by Massimo Bottura, an internationally-renowned chef and founder of "Food for Soul", along with David Hertz, a chief and founder of the "Gastromotiva" non-profit organization. Both chefs were present at today's event.

Read more at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States website.

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July 8, 2016

Vietnamese labour law: there's an app for that

posted by Francis Churchill
8 July 2016

A free smartphone app designed to make Vietnam’s labour laws accessible to factory management and workers has been launched.

Created by Better Work Vietnam, a partnership between the International Labour Organisation and the International Finance Corporation, the app allows users to read Better Work’s labour law guide in both Vietnamese and English.

The guide lets users navigate through the law by sections of interest, search by key terms and save or share articles.

It covers all major areas of labour law such as rules on the minimum working age, trade unions, collective bargaining, discrimination and forced labour, among other things.

“We thought bringing the guide straight to their fingertips through a smartphone app would be an ideal way to boost its accessibility and help users navigate through the various chapters of the law more easily,” said David Williams, technical officer at Better Work Vietnam.

Williams said factory management, human resources and compliance teams were already using the app.

Read more at Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

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July 8, 2016

Portfolio of Cradle to Cradle Certified Materials Launched for the Fashion Industry

Fashion designers have long asked for a place to find materials they know are healthier for people and the planet — and now they have one. The new Fashion Positive Materials Collection, which debuted this week, includes 39 materials for fashion applications that are Cradle to Cradle Certified or have received a Material Health Certificate, which at higher levels of certification ensures safe materials suitable for circular design.

“For many brands, designers and suppliers, it’s a long journey to circular fashion. Fashion Positive meets our members wherever they are on that path and provides the leadership, the vision and methodology to assist our partners in the transition to circularity; the Materials Collection is a big step in that direction,” said Lewis Perkins, the President of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

The Fashion Positive Materials Collection is an online portfolio that includes fabrics and yarns, as well as buttons, labels, elastic and even dyes for clothing and accessories. Each entry includes information on available sizes, weights, colors and a range of other specifications. Updated details about available stock and custom ordering make choosing the right material straightforward.

“Materials are also assessed against our Standard, so not only are they potentially circular, they are also making a positive impact right now. To obtain Cradle to Cradle Certification, materials are assessed against requirements in 5 standard categories ensuring holistic environmental quality that goes beyond circularity,” Perkins added.

The 5 categories include material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness. 32 of the total 39 materials in the Collection are Cradle to Cradle Certified, with a Basic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum Certification indicating how the material scored across those categories. All, however, have been assessed and improved based on the material health category requirements in the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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July 6, 2016

Trending: Enter Plastic Waste; Exit Stronger, Safer Materials

This week, we examine two innovations that not only divert plastic waste but turn it into stronger, more beneficial materials: IBM has discovered a way to convert polycarbonates into plastics safe for water purification, fiber optics and medical equipment; while shredded plastic waste is helping to create more durable, weather-resistant roads in Chennai, India.

“Polycarbonates are common plastics in our society – especially in consumer electronics in the form of LED screens, smartphones and Blu-rays, as well as everyday eyeglass lenses, kitchen utensils and household storage gear,” explained Gavin O. Jones, a research staff member at IBM Research – Almaden in San Jose, California. “We now have a new way of recycling to improve how this prominent substance impacts the world’s health and environment.”

Citing the American Chemical Society, IBM says that the world generates more than 2.7 million tons of polycarbonates every year. Over time, polycarbonates decompose and leach BPA, a chemical that, in 2008, caused retailers to pull plastic baby bottles from store shelves due to concerns about the potential effects of BPA on the brain. Since then, BPA has continued to be a cause for concern in materials such as cash register receipts and food can linings.

IBM research scientists added a fluoride reactant, a base and heat to old CDs to produce a new plastic with temperature and chemical resistance superior to the original material. The company claims that when the powder is reconstructed into new forms, its strength prevents the decomposition process that causes BPA leaching. Thus, the new, one-step chemical process can convert polycarbonates into plastics safe for water purification, fiber optics and medical equipment.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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July 1, 2016

Enhanced waste-management practices reduce carbon emissions and support lower landfill taxes

Landfills are the oldest form of waste management, but have a large environmental impact. In the EU, landfilling is now a last resort for waste management and strictly limited, and any waste that has to be landfilled must be sent to sites that comply with the Directive on the landfill of waste.

One way to reduce the environmental effects of landfills is to impose a tax on their use. Landfill taxes are a form of sustainable materials management — which is a component of the EU’s flagship initiative to achieve resource efficiency by 2020. Another form of sustainable materials management is ‘Enhanced Waste Management’ (EWM), which aims to process waste into useful products. This is a relatively new concept in Europe and not yet part of the Waste Framework Directive.

Both mechanisms could provide environmental and economic benefits, but they can be difficult to balance. This is because high landfill taxes can reduce the incentive for EWM, as taxation reduces the amount of landfilled material available for conversion into useful products and mitigates the issue of scarce landfill space — thus making EWM less necessary. Likewise, as EWM reduces the amount of waste that is permanently landfilled, it also reduces the landfill scarcity issue, making landfill taxes more ‘redundant’ (because it postpones the point of landfill capacity exhaustion), the researchers assert. EWM could thus reduce the necessity of landfill taxes, contribute to a circular economy and have environmental benefits.

Read more at "Science for Environment Policy": European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service, edited by SCU, The University of the West of England, Bristol.

01 July 2016
Issue 461

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