The Corporate Sustainability Newsletter is produced quarterly by The Isosceles Group. It focuses on major trends and developments in the areas of corporate sustainability and social responsibility, enabling companies to stay ahead of the curve on important and emerging issues. Hyperlinks to relevant information and studies have been provided if you are interested in obtaining further details on a particular topic. The March 2017 Corporate Sustainability Quarterly Newsletter covers the period of mid-November 2016 to mid-February 2017. Sustainability updates for specific countries can also be provided upon request. If you have any questions about the presented materials or would like additional information on any of the topics, please contact Brittany Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bill has been proposed to the Senate of Brazil to prohibit the extraction, industrialization, import, transport, and storage of asbestos, minerals, and rocks containing hydrated silicates in the country. The bill also proposes a ban on the importation and marketing of products that use asbestos and hydrated silicates as raw material. Under this proposed bill, a step-by-step implementation schedule would allow the mining, industrial, and commerce sectors to adapt to and comply with the ban. The proposed bill is currently before the Infrastructure Committee for review.
China: SAWS Releases Ten Provisions on Hazardous Chemicals Enterprise Production Safety Assurance and Ten Provisions on Oil and Gas Tank Fire Protection
The State Administration of Work Safety released two sets of provisions in late March 2017. The first is in regard to hazardous chemicals production, and the second provides requirements for oil and gas fire tank protection.
The Ten Provisions on Hazardous Chemicals Enterprise Production Safety Assurance includes the following requirements:
The Ten Provisions on Oil and Gas Tank Fire Protection includes the following requirements:
The European Parliament adopted new rules on mineral imports from conflict zones. These rules follow nearly two and a half years of debate and negotiation. They will enter into force on January 1, 2021 and will apply across all EU member states.
Under the rules, all but the smallest EU importers of tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold must ensure that their supply chains are not linked to armed conflicts, including those in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or in Africa’s Great Lakes region. The drafters incorporated provisions to revise the law to include and exclude certain regions depending on changes in political climate. The “due diligence” requirement aligns with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines and has the potential to change the lives of individuals caught in armed conflict. The reason for the new rules is to attempt to prevent the vicious cycle affecting mineral-rich countries afflicted by conflicts.
On March 10, 2017, the Department of Environmental Affairs for South Africa published a draft regulation for public comment. The draft Coastal Waters Discharge Permit Regulations was developed as part of the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, 2008. The draft regulations include requirements for applications for coastal waters discharge permits, information on assessment of application and site inspection, and conditions for approval and permit renewal. The draft also sets contingency plans and fee schedules for permit holders.
Interested individuals had to submit representations or comments regarding the draft regulations within 30 days after publication in the Government Gazette.
The Ministry of Labor in Taiwan, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Taiwan, released the recommended Global Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) classifications for 6000 hazardous substances in early March. The classifications are based primarily on the classification and labeling inventory maintained by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the recommended classifications of other international databases.
Denmark has notified the European Commission of changes to its legislation restricting the use and sale of new wood-based materials that emit formaldehyde. The Order states that wood-based materials that emit formaldehyde in a concentration above 0.124mg/m3 should not be used in the manufacture of furniture and related parts. For sales of fixed and movable objects, which also includes furniture, the concentration limit is 0.134mg/m3. The restriction will not apply to existing furniture and parts that comply with current Danish standards, and those manufactured for export to non-EU countries. The Order also excludes construction products, furniture padding, and upholstery. Limits may be waived in special cases and conditions may be set for permits. The new limits will become effective six months after the decree's entry into force for wood-based materials, and one year after for fixed and movable furniture.
On February 27, 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management for Austria opened a consultation period for a draft regulation amending four implementation ordinances implementing the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas Act 2009. The Government has published supporting documents on its website for contributors to consider before submitting their recommendations. Interested individuals had to submit comments via e-mail by April 10, 2017.
Comments may discuss (1) the draft Ordinance on Qualification and Certification Measures in Connection with Localized Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Systems and Heat Pumps; (2) the draft Ordinance on Qualification and Certification Measures in Connection with Fixed Fire Protection Systems and Fire Extinguishers; (3) the draft Ordinance on Qualification and Certification Measures Relating to High-voltage Switchgear; and (4) the draft Amendment on Qualification Measures Relating to Vehicle Air-conditioning Systems.
The Russian Government has amended the Federal Law “On Industrial Safety of Hazardous Production Facilities.” The State Duma adopted the amendment on February 8, 2017, and the Federation Council approved the law on February 15, 2017. The amendment augments sub-paragraph 1 of paragraph 5 of Annex 2 of the original law. Specifically, it adds an exception for filling stations equipment intended for refueling vehicles with natural gas. The Federal Law entered into force thirty days following the date of its official publication.
On February 21, 2017, the Cabinet of Japan approved the Cabinet Order for the Partial Revision of the Order for Enforcement of the Act on the Rational Use of Energy. The Order of Enforcement stipulates the addition of showcases to list applicable top-runner equipment that is “particularly necessary to improve the rational use of energy” under Article 78 of the Act on the Rational Use of Energy. The Order also requires manufacturers and other entities of covered top-runner products to manufacture or import 100 or more showcase units in order to qualify. The top-runner program defines target criteria for energy-efficient performance of such equipment. The Energy Efficiency Division, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Department, and Agency for Natural Resources and Energy are in charge of the Order. Enforcement began on March 1, 2017.