Two new initiatives aim to strengthen responsible business conduct by Canadian companies operating abroad. First, the newly created Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) is empowered to independently investigate allegations of human rights abuses by Canadian companies, with an initial focus this year on the mining, oil and gas, and garment sectors. Second, a multistakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct will advise the federal government and CORE on the effective implementation and further development of laws, regulations, public policies, and best practices related to responsible business conduct and respect for human rights by Canadian businesses operating outside the country. The Advisory Body will meet for the first time on April 23, 2018. http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/topics-domaines/other-autre/csr-rse.aspx
A ban on the processing or selling of ivory and ivory products in China entered into effect on December 31, 2017. The ban applies to ivory acquired before and after the 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). China previously allowed pre-Convention ivory when accompanied by certificates certifying its pre-Convention status. The State Forestry Administration will work with other governmental departments to enforce the ban. http://english.gov.cn/state_council/ministries/2018/01/02/content_281475998500410.htm
On January 31, 2018, the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, which was not covered by the ban on ivory sales in mainland China, approved a phased approach to end the ivory trade in Hong Kong by 2021 and increased penalties for the smuggling and illegal trading of endangered species under the local Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, which implements CITES. The Amended Ordinance enters into effect on May 1, 2018. https://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/conservation/con_end/files/ES01_18e.pdf
Democratic Republic of the Congo
A new Mining Code (Law No. 18/001), signed into law on March 9, 2018, substantially amends the sixteen-year-old code of 2002. The new law increases royalties and taxes, reduces mining licenses from 30 to 25 years, cancels and replaces the 10-year fiscal stability provision with a 5-year provision, and alters mining companies’ obligations, such as requiring more local processing. (Official Gazette, in French) http://www.leganet.cd/Legislation/JO/2018/JOS.28.03.2018.pdf
A ban on the manufacturing of cosmetics and rinse-off personal care products containing microbeads became effective on January 9, 2018. The ban on the sales of such products will begin on June 30, 2018. In the government’s notice of the proposed ban to the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade in July 2017, the government stated that roughly 680 tons of plastic microbeads are used in cosmetic products sold in the United Kingdom each year, resulting in billions of the beads entering the oceans where they do not biodegrade and constitute a form of marine environmental pollution. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2017/1312/made
Have updates to contribute? The Editorial Board welcomes your input. Contributions are welcome from all countries, and contributors will be acknowledged. Please email your contribution to Renee Dopplick, Editor-in-Chief.