What to watch for this year in sustainability and CSR policies around the world
Brazil’s struggling biofuels sector might fare better in 2015 after the country’s fuels regulator cleared the way for the production and distribution of farnesane, a renewable jet fuel developed by global renewable products company Amyris and French energy giant Total. This enables the producer to approach commercialisation in Brazil of the jet fuel, sourced from sugar cane, in blends of up to 10%.
2015 will test out Canada’s recently unveiled enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the extractive sector. The November 2014 plan aims to ensure that Canadian companies operate abroad with the highest ethical standards.It also outlines the government’s initiatives to help Canadian businesses strengthen their CSR practices and maximise the benefits their investments provide to people in host countries. The Canadian government says that if mining companies don’t play by the standards, they could lose the diplomatic support of the federal government.
The policy should have tangible implications worldwide as more than half of the world’s publicly listed exploration and mining companies are headquartered in Canada, while nearly one-third of global exploration expenditures come from Canadian businesses, according to 2013 data.
On the heels of a landmark US-China climate agreement, 2015 promises to be a critical year for China’s environmental policy. A revised and more stringent Environmental Protection Law (EPL) took effect on January 1. Designed to balance economic and social development with environmental protection, the EPL is perceived as the most progressive and strict law in the history of environmental protection in the country. It details harsher penalties for environmental offences, provisions for tackling pollution and higher standards for companies. It gives more responsibility to local governments and law enforcement authorities, and contains provisions for protecting whistle blowers.
This year is also likely to see highly anticipated new amendments to the Air Pollution Law in China, as well as a draft for the country’s next five-year plan.
All eyes will be on Paris in December to deliver the world’s first legally binding global climate change agreement with emission reduction commitments from all countries. If it succeeds, the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference will create the crucial framework the world needs to keep the global goal of limiting average global temperature increases to below 2 C (from pre-industrial levels) within reach.
The UK government has accepted Labour Party proposals to create new legally binding rules that will require companies to disclose the chemicals they use at individual wells when fracking for shale gas. The disclosure rule, which will be included in the UK Infrastructure Bill, also increases monitoring measures in fracking operations.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will revise its water quality standards by mid 2015. The changes will primarily focus on how US states define the uses of water bodies and how compliance reviews are conducted. Meanwhile, the agency plans to release a final rule in February on how to improve the safety of the nation’s 575,000 underground tanks, most of which are used to store petroleum or other hazardous substances. The EPA has proposed that new tanks use double walls to prevent potential groundwater contamination.
2015 digest global business
May 2015, London, United Kingdom
Europe’s leading meeting place for corporate leaders delivering sustainable business. 12+ C-Suite and over 300 attendees will address some of the key issues and opportunities, including: sustainable innovation, collaboration, and resource efficiency and brand strategies