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Acxiom, LondonF gases form part of the Kyoto Protocol’s ‘basket’ of greenhouse gases. Action to contain, prevent and reduce emissions of F gases has been taken by the EU as part of its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol which runs to 2012. The EU framework has been fully implemented in Great Britain by the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009 (FGG Regulations 2009). The regulation applies to almost any building with an air conditioning system that utilises refrigerant and coolants to reduce the interior temperature and is especially common in larger workplaces and offices. It’s a weighty piece of legislation beyond the scope of this comment so if you have any concerns it is worth getting advice either from an installer or from the DEFRA website. It’s also a problematic piece of legislation in its own right because so far it is failing to reduce the level of emissions needed by the Kyoto Protocol. So, as part of a consultation begun at the end of 2011 and again due to be finished in the first half of 2012, the EU is proposing a series of amendments including bans on new equipment containing F gases, extending the scope of the regulations to other systems and the introduction of a scheme for the phasing out of F gases.

Discussions on a range of proposals to change the EU directive have been ongoing for some time. One of the most important of these is the potential for workers to opt-out of the fixed maximum of an average 48-hour working week. Less clear cut is the discussion on whether or not any time spent on call should be treated as working time, not least because of problems defining what is ‘on-call’ in a world of mobile and ubiquitous technology. This could potentially lead to significant changes to the UK working time laws in due course. This has dragged on for long enough. In April 2009 the initial negotiations from the EU came to an end without agreement being reached. In March 2010, the European Commission started a new consultation looking at the options for reforming the directive. In December of that year the Commission launched the second stage of the review and it will now be preparing formal amendment proposals for this year. Given the long and troubled history of this legislation and the fact that it can sit at odds with the way we work nowadays, and you have the makings of another delay

Natural rattan belongs to the design classics and it is making a comeback in design circles. Unfortunately, conventional forestry practices may damage tropical forests when the rattan is harvested. To avoid this forest destruction, WWF has set up a European Union funded programme for sustainable production and processing of rattan in the Mekong region.

WWF is working with Swedish designers, graduates from Lund University, in cooperation with local companies, to develop rattan products that are suitable for the international market. These products range from doormats made of rattan waste to foldable baskets, and a unique rattan lounge chair. In addition, the WWF has analysed the worldwide trade flows of rattan, the major buyers are the EU and China with Vietnam playing an essential role for the EU market, exporting mainly to Germany and France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The objectives of the programme are to manage the tropical forests containing rattan in accordance with the Principles and Criteria of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), and to promote and implement the United Nations’ principles of “Cleaner Production”. These include the optimisation of material and energy flows, minimising waste and water contamination, and reducing emissions.

Rattan species are members of the palm family and grow climbing and winding themselves around other vegetation and some varieties can grow to lengths of more than one hundred metres. “Forests with such a wide variety of flora and fauna, which have disappeared in other regions of the world, still exist in the Mekong region,” said Thibault Ledecq, WWF Sustainable Rattan Project Manager. “More than 1,000 new animal and plant species have been discovered in the Mekong region in the last ten years alone.” But many of these rattan resources are being overexploited, leading to a decline of many rattan species, prompting WWF to create the Sustainable Rattan Programme in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam five years ago.


“Sustainable rattan only has a chance if there is a market for it and if the forests where the rattan grows are still standing,” explained Ledecq. He is convinced: “With credible forest management, responsible trade, and consumer awareness we can ensure that this fascinating natural raw material has a future.”

The WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme receives 80 percent of the programme’s total budget of € 2.4 million from the EU SWITCH-Asia Programme of the EuropeAid Development and Cooperation. SWITCH-Asia aims at scaling-up environmentally friendly production and consumption practices. The Sustainable Rattan Programme is successfully serving this purpose by reaching-out to all participants in the rattan value chain and encouraging certification. IKEA co-finances the WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme.