Carbon price hike
The government of Singapore has announced a significant rise in what heavy polluters need to pay for carbon emissions as the state aligns itself with more challenging climate targets on route to achieving net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. Singapore had previously only committed to net zero in the second half of the century and as soon as viable. The cost of a tonne of carbon is set to reach $50-$80 Singapore (up to $60 US) by 2030. Current carbon price in Singapore is around S$5, one of the lowest in the world.
The carbon price will rise in stages – to S$25 in 2024 and to S$45 in 2026. The scheme currently covers power, waste and other industry facilities that account for 80% of Singapore’s emissions. Those businesses paying the carbon tax will be able to use carbon credits to offset up to 5% of their annual payments.
Thai forced labour
More allegations of forced labour in Thailand have emerged, this time involving prisoners in Thai jails being forced to make fishing nets under threat of violence. The nets are for private companies, among which are exporters to the US. The labour violations were initially uncovered in a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation
resulting in a report published in December. The US government is now being urged by human rights groups to ban the import of fishing nets linked to the forced labour. Sustainable news website Eco Business quotes the Global Labour Justice – International Labour Rights Forum as describing the practices as an example of multinational corporations sourcing the lowest-priced products while absolving themselves of any responsibility for resulting human rights abuses.
The organisation and other members of the Seafood Working Group coalition of civil society groups have petitioned the US Customs and Border Protection agency to halt the importation of nets. Under the country’s Tariff Act goods made using forced or prison labour are barred from entering the US – and the border agency can issue detention orders against implicated goods.
Climate: focus on implementation
The UK’s climate change committee, the official advisory body on climate change for the UK’s national government and its devolved administrations, is to focus efforts on delivery and implementation
of the country’s climate goals. In particular, the committee will turn attention to how the private sector will make the necessary progress, underpinned by public policy.
Essentially marking a shift in working on what needs to be done to how it will be achieved, the committee has said that it will work with business to ensure that government is clear what companies want from regulation, and to help ensure that credible corporate climate commitments are established and implemented. Also to come in 2022 will be briefings for companies outlining how they can go about engaging the public on the net zero transition and to help ensure that the benefits and costs of this are allocated fairly.
Tesco cuts 1.5bn pieces of plastic
Worldwide retailers and brands are continuing to outdo each other on eliminating plastic from packaging. Tesco is the latest
to trumpet its achievements announcing that an impressive 1.5bn pieces of plastic have been removed from its UK business alone since the launch of its Remove, Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle – or 4Rs – campaign in August 2019. Over the past two and a half years the retailer has removed plastic wrapped tinned multipacks, accounting for 75m pieces of plastic a year; 50m pieces of plastic wrapping from cans of beers and ciders; 100m unnecessary lids from a variety of food and hygiene products; 200m bags from its online delivery service; and, millions of plastic punnets from fruits and vegetables.