International business briefs: Victoria's dirty secret, Pesticide risk grants, Water Act violation, China visit, Canadian trash debate, US environmental discussion

A national campaign has been launched against Victoria's Secret and parent company Limited Brands for their leading role in forest destruction. San Francisco-based ForestEthics is directing actions and demonstrations by grassroots environmental groups across the US, as well as launching an advertising campaign and a website, Victoria's Dirty Secret, challenging the retailer to use recycled and sustainably harvested paper, and to stop using paper from the world's last remaining endangered forests. Victoria's Secret prints 395 million catalogues each year, which is over one million catalogues each day, which are predominately printed on virgin paper from endangered forests.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that 13 states and state universities will receive grants to develop programmes to reduce the risks associated with pesticide use in agricultural and non-agricultural settings. Under the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship (PESP) Regional Initiative Grant programme, the EPA will award US$507,100 for outreach, education, training, demonstration and measurement projects that advance pesticide risk reduction. Since 1996, over $4.5 million in grants have been awarded under this programme.

Dutton Yarn, a processing facility in Massachusetts, has been ordered to pay a US$300,000 fine by U.S. District Court for violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). The company was charged with negligently discharging pollution that depleted oxygen levels in receiving water, harming fish and aquatic life. As part of the sentence, the company must also establish an environmental compliance programme.

Judith Hackitt, Director General of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), this week joins Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and other key industry stakeholders, on a high-level "partnership visit" to China. The DTI has invited Ms Hackitt to accompany MS Hewitt as part of a senior delegation of business and trade union leaders, which includes Digby Jones, Director General of the CBI and Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC. The group will see the huge economic developments in China first hand.

As the dispute over where to put more than 1.3 million tonnes of Ontario's Canadian trash heats up into a small cross-border war with Michigan, a new report from Raymond Communications sheds some light on how many major US-based manufacturers and retailers have come to complain about having to pay for 50% of Ontario's Can$118 million "Blue Box" recycling programme. The report, Canadian Recycling Policy: The Complete Guide for Product Makers, is to be published this week and provides a history and analysis of Ontario's various political battles over who will pay for its curbside recycling programme, as well as a full province-by-province summary of most of the nation's 29 local "producer responsibility" programmes that affect everything from packaging to used oil to paint.

And finally, four of America's leading environmental experts and authors, Professor Dennis Meadows, Ross Gelbspan, Professor Paul Ehrlich and Lester Brown, are to discuss their views on the current condition and future outlook for the environment just two weeks before the Presidential election. Each of the speakers has published a major book in the last several months on what needs to be done to reverse the continuing decline in global sustainability.


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