SEHN

Visionary Science, Ethics, Law and Action in the Public Interest

Precautionary Principle – Number 203

Race to Zero Discharge

October 2011

 

I.   NIKE, Inc. commitment on zero discharge of hazardous chemicals 

August 17, 2011

In support of the principles of prevention and precaution, and in line with our overall commitment to water stewardship, NIKE, Inc. supports the goal of systemic change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals associated with supply chains and the lifecycles of products within one generation or less.

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II. Adidas Group to develop a roadmap to address ‘zero discharge’ 

September 1, 2011

The adidas Group is committed to the goal of zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from our supply chain via all pathways, with a 2020 timeline. . . . If we are to deliver lasting solutions, our actions need to be guided by transparency, fact-based decision-making and based on a preventative, precautionary and integrated approach to chemicals management

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III. Advising parents in the face of scientific uncertainty: an environmental health dilemma 

Naomi Lubick, Environmental Health Perspectives, October 1, 2011

The Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment seeks “to provide evidence-based information in a responsible manner to doctors and other clinical practitioners who serve as a frontline for pregnant women and other patients concerned about exposure to environmental chemicals. Their ultimate target is the larger community and the legislators and policymakers who could regulate chemical exposures.”

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IV. Precautionary strategies for managing nanomaterials

German Advisory Council on the Environment, September 2011

Recommendations include consistently treating nanomaterials as if they were substances in their own right and registered with dossiers of their own, which is not currently required under REACH. Access pdfs of the full paper and executive summary for policy makers here.

V. European Commission caves in to industry over biofuel rules–Global Forest Coalition demands precautionary approach

Climate Connections, September 13, 2011

First, they ignored all warnings when pushing through a 10% biofuel target. Now they are using scientific uncertainties as an excuse for once again caving in to the agrofuel industry. Under the precautionary principle, uncertainties over extent of harm caused by agrofuels means that targets and subsidies must be stopped – instead of giving the agrofuel industry the benefit of doubt.

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VI. A belated postscript on the precautionary principle 

Willem Vervoort, Moving Water@Sydney blog, September 18, 2011

This argument for the precautionary principle compares it to a cautious business plan but points out that the principle is needed because “if you mess up the environment you personally generally don’t get hurt as much as in business” and environmental costs are “generally not just felt by the company alone, but most likely by ‘downstream’ users.”

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