Read this month’s update on trade and sustainability topics, with on the ground analysis from our international network.
Network Representative, India
India COVID-19 Updates
Thee Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) India has continued lockdown order for containment zones while allowing the reopening of the rest of the country. Detailed guidelines have been published by the MHA, reopening of the country will occur in three phases. The current lockdown imposed on India’s containment zones is set to be enforceable from 1 to 30 June.
MHA has revised guidelines for passenger travel and the movement of goods domestically and internationally. These guidelines were revised to allow for greater relaxations as India follows through with its reopening plan. Notably, domestic passenger air travel has been removed from the list of restrictions under the current lockdown guidelines.
Total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India stand at 287,061 as of 11 June 2020. India has surpassed Spain’s tally to rank fifth in the number of infections.
Network Representative, Spain
Spain's government has approved its new Climate Change and Energy Transition Law
The law lays out the country's new regulatory framework. The text was approved by the Cabinet on May 19 and has been submitted to the Parliament for approval. The overarching law is designed with the goal of emissions neutrality by 2050, with the country's generating sector reaching 100% of renewable energy by that date, with an interim target of 70% by 2030. The ecological transition is expected to attract EUR 200 billion of investment over the next 10 years while creating up to 350,000 new jobs.
On 2 June, the Spanish Cabinet also approved a draft law that introduces a new tax on plastic waste, among other environmental measures. The indirect levy will tax the manufacture, import or acquisition of non-reusable plastic packaging from other European Union countries for use in the Spanish market. The draft law is part of a broader Circular Economy Strategy that seeks to reduce waste generation by 15% in 2030 from 2010 levels. The draft law stipulates that from 2021 onwards, unsold non-perishable items such as textiles, toys or electrical appliances may not be destroyed. Starting in 2025, there will also be a system in place for collecting used clothing. Food waste is also addressed and criteria has been established to facilitate the conversion of certain types of food into sub-products such as animal feed.
At the same time, the Spanish Parliament has set a non-permanent Committee for the Economic and Social Recovery comprised of four working groups on: public health, economic recovery, social care and the EU. This Committee will produce a report proposing measures to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and set the pillars for the economic recovery and modernisation of the Spanish production pattern, emphasising measures to drive an ecological transition.
More information (in Spanish).
Network Representative, Germany
PST and AGT Publish Joint Report on Purchasing Practices
The German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles (PST) and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT) have published a joint report on 12 June 2020 focusing on purchasing practices. The report is based on self-assessments conducted by 42 companies before the COVID-19 crisis and is based on a tool developed by the ACT initiative (Action, Collaboration, Transformation).
The outcomes show areas of positive development such as ‘Changes to Orders’ and ‘Terms of Payment’ as well as areas where improvements are needed, for example, ‘Price Quotation’ and ‘Incentives and Compliance Scoring’. The report elaborates on the methodology and details of the 16 sections which have been focused on as important elements relevant for purchasing practices.
Network Representative, Switzerland
Responsible Business Initiative rejected by Parliament and Federal Council
The Responsible Business Initiative https://corporatejustice.ch is has been definitely rejected by both chambers of parliament and the Federal Council. There will be two options though to vote on in November 2020: the initiative itself or a counterproposal. The counterproposal provides for companies based in Switzerland to have mandatory reporting for the activities of their subsidiaries abroad. For conflict minerals and child labour, companies must also comply with due diligence obligations.