Electronic products are an integral part of our lives. Each year brings its share of new gadgets: some helpful and some questionably so. While these devices are often an important part of our lives, they can quickly become obsolete. Whether it’s a company renewing its IT equipment to make use of the latest software or individuals following fashion trends, enormous amounts of electronics end up as waste each year.
If not left at the back of a cupboard, outdated equipment can often find its way to landfill sites where it may gradually contaminate soil and groundwater with toxic metals. To prevent these devices from ending up in landfill sites and to ensure that they are not exported to countries with less stringent environmental or health and safety standards, environmental handling fees (EHF) were introduced in June 2011 under the Regulation on the recovery and reclamation of products by enterprises. The fees are charged at the time of purchase of all electronic products and are administered by EPRA (Electronic Products Recycling Association) to fund collection and recycling system. Once collected, the waste electronics are sorted either to be reused or to be refurbished or recycled in Quebec.
To ensure that the devices are handled in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, the collection systems and the reuse, refurbishment and recycling facilities must all comply with the evaluation and certification programs set out by the Recycler Qualification Office (RQO), specifically:
- the Collection Sites Approval Program (CSAP),
- the Electronic Reuse & Refurbishing Program (ERRP), and
- the Recycler Qualification Program (RQP).
If you’re in the electronic recycling industry, EEM can help your organization to design and implement an environmental and health & safety management system that meets the requirements of the RQO. The EEM team, recently bolstered by the addition of André Bernier, is also qualified to perform your internal system audits.
In anticipation of the Final Draft ISO 14001 standard due to be published by the end of 2015, Paul MacLean was invited to speak about the major changes by the Quebec association of environmental auditors (Association québécoise de vérification environnementale AQVE). Highlights of the presentation can be viewed here.
On the 8th January 2015 at 2pm, Paul MacLean will also be presenting a webinar on ISO 14001:2015, hosted by Intelex, an EHS software firm. You can register for the free webinar here.
The new ISO high level structure for management systems was used to define the elements of a management system addressing multiple sustainability topics at a new goldmine operation in northern Quebec. Read the case study here.
Should your organisation be contemplating an integrated management system or an upgrade to ISO 14001:2015, we’d be pleased to share our experience and guide your first steps.
With new corporate requirements for a Sustainability Excellence Management System, and commitments to abide by numerous external obligations, Goldcorp-Éléonore’s new mining operations in northern Quebec needed a plan to meet expectations. EEM was retained to develop a site-specific management system to ensure the new facilities would operate in ways that minimize their environmental and social impacts. Read the case study.
The Government of Canada has published an updated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy for Canadian companies operating in the extractive sector abroad. Of note, where host country CSR requirements differ from the international standards listed below, the Government of Canada expects Canadian companies to meet the higher, more rigorous standard. The international standards referred to in the strategy include, among others:
- the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards,
- the United Nations’ Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and
- the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.
Learn more about the government’s strategy.
EEM was retained by a major bauxite producer in West Africa to conduct an environmental and social impact assessment of the staged expansion of the 50 year-old mine, associated mill and infrastructure. The assessment complies with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Environmental and Social Performance Standards. Read the case study.
EEM was selected among twelve consulting firms to develop a Tourism Development Strategic Plan for the region of Moosonee and Moose Factory located in north-eastern Ontario. Read the case study.
Companies listed on the TSX and other Canadian stock exchanges, will need to report on gender diversity as soon as 2015. New rules have been published that apply to company reports covering fiscal year 2014 under National Instrument NI58-101. These require disclosure of the number of women not only on the board of directors but also in executive officer positions. Furthermore, companies are required to provide disclosures on policies regarding the representation of women on the board and in senior management, and any associated targets. Where no policy or target exists, the company must explain their absence.
Read more about the requirements in the document describing the amendments NI 58-101.
The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Julie Gelfand, gives her assessment of Canada’s international climate commitments. Her conclusion reads:
Canadians expect the government to prepare for the future. We know that the difficulty of addressing climate change will only grow the longer we wait to act. We know that the environmental footprint of oil sands development is steadily increasing. We know that Arctic shipping routes will gain popularity as Arctic sea ice melts, increasing environmental risks in that fragile ecosystem. In each case it is likely that a lack of action today will translate into higher costs tomorrow.
To address these issues, the government needs to know:
- how it will reach its GHG emission targets,
- what services it will provide in the Arctic to support increased navigation and minimize environmental risk, and
- what Environment Canada’s role will be in future oil sands environmental monitoring.
Given the stakes involved, Canadians need answers to these questions.
To prepare for resource development, federal departments need to take a more integrated approach to decision making, one that recognizes the many linkages between the economy, the environment, and society. They can do this by investing in better information, acting on the knowledge they acquire, and engaging Canadians in their decisions.
To read the 2014 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.