This month’s tracker reflects key initiatives from January 16, 2017 – February 15, 2017.

The pace of environmental and sustainability initiatives continues at its breakneck pace in Latin America, notwithstanding summer vacations. This past month we saw a continued press to issue new energy efficiency initiatives for a wide range of consumer products in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, signaling that climate change implementation is not likely to taper in the region even if it does in the U.S. Significant work progressed on both global and specific chemicals initiatives in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, sustaining the region’s marked focus on chemicals management. Mexico and Peru each updated consumer protection policies, an area of potential significant legal developments in the future for a wide range of products and as the class-action law suit begins to take hold in the region.

For your convenience, we are including links for final laws and resolutions. If you would like copies of proposed initiatives, please contact me or Tiffany Carlson. We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions.  

¡Gracias!

Maddie Kadas, Latin American Environmental Practice Leader

Argentina

Used Battery Take-Back Program Begins in Buenos Aires City

The Ministry of Environment, through the Secretariat of Environmental Monitoring and Control and the Environmental Protection Agency of the Government of Buenos Aires, launched the start of its used battery take-back program with the export of 10 tons of batteries, collected between 2008 and 2009 in Buenos Aires City, for treatment and recovery in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France.

Buenos Aires City Establishes Voluntary Office Waste Management Stamp Program

The Ministry of Environment and Public Space of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires has published a resolution (No. 63/MAYEPGC/17; with annex) that establishes the Integrated Office Waste Management Stamp Program (GIRO) – a program under the authority of the Undersecretariat of Urban Health to be voluntarily implemented in public and private offices to promote the reduction, reuse, and recycling of wastes.

Brazil

Draft Energy Efficiency Standards for Electrical Three-Phase, Squirrel Cage Induction Motors Open for Public Comment

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has posted draft energy efficiency standards for electrical three-phase, squirrel cage induction motors (with a nominal power of 0.75 kW (1 hp) to 370 kW (500 hp)) for public comment until March 8, 2017.

Updated National Water Resources Plan 2016-2020 Published

The National Council of Water Resources has published a resolution (No. 181/2016), approving the updated priorities, actions, and goals of the National Water Resources Plan 2016-2020, developed by the Ministry of Environment’s Secretariat of Water Resources and Urban Environment. The Plan’s top priorities include curbing the country’s water shortages and the effects of global warming, and better integrating government efforts to meet these challenges.

Review of National Solid Waste Plan Begins

The Ministry of Environment began its twenty-month review process of the National Solid Waste Plan. The Plan contemplates the environmental problems associated with different waste types, alternative forms of waste management, and waste management goals, programs, projects, and corresponding actions. Discussions will involve Brazilian and foreign specialists, as well as representatives from the federal government, business sector, and general public.

Environmental License Required for Solid Waste Management Activities in São Paulo

São Paulo’s Secretariat of Environment (SMA) has issued a resolution (No. 15/2017) requiring entities that carry out activities related to solid waste management, including processing, transporting, and disposing solid waste of any origin or classification, to obtain prior authorization from SMA through an environmental license. The resolution went into effect immediately following its publication.

New Guidelines for the Management of Contaminated Sites Published in São Paulo

The Board of Directors of the Environmental Company of the State of São Paulo (CETESB) has published a decision (No. 38/2017/C) that establishes new guidelines for the management of contaminated areas in the State of São Paulo through the approval of three annexes under Decree 59.263/2013, regulating State Law No. 13.577/2009: 1) Procedure for the Protection of Soil and Groundwater, 2) Procedure for the Management of Contaminated Areas, and 3) Guidelines for the Management of Contaminated Areas in the Field of Environmental Licensing.  All stages of research, remediation, and monitoring of soil and groundwater associated with contaminated areas or areas potentially subject to contamination must adhere to these new procedures. 

Chile

New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Set for Electrical Three-Phase, Squirrel Cage Induction Motors

The Ministry of Energy has published a resolution (No. 3/2017) that establishes minimum energy efficiency standards for three-phase, squirrel cage induction motors (with a frequency of 50 Hz, ability to operate at 380 Volts, and power of 0.75 to 7.5 kW, among other specifications). The standard would not apply to motors designed for operation with a converter in accordance with IEC60034-25, or motors with an electromagnetic or manual brake. The standard goes into effect one year after its publication date.

Draft Energy Efficiency Label for Domestic Water Heaters Open for Public Comment

The Ministry of Energy has posted technical specifications for the design of domestic water heater energy efficiency labels for public comment until March 24, 2017. If approved, all domestic water heaters would need to display this label on the product front or side to be sold in Chile. Those interested in submitting comments may send them electronically to eficienciaenergetica@minenergia.cl.

Draft Energy Efficiency Standards for Fluorescent and LED Lamps Open for Public Comment

The Superintendent of Electricity and Fuels (SEC) has posted four draft energy efficiency standards for various types of fluorescent and LED lamps: 1) fluorescent lamps with built-in ballasts for general lighting (references IEC 60969-2001); 2) double-capped fluorescent lamps (references IEC 60081-2002); 3) single-capped fluorescent lamps (references IEC 60901); and 4) LED lamps with built-in ballasts for general lighting (references IEC 62612: 2015-10). Those interested in submitting comments may send them electronically to Cristian Baeza Jiménez at cbaeza@sec.cl until April 24, 2017.

Results of Second OECD Environmental Performance Assessment Published

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published the results of its second Environmental Performance Assessment for Chile, covering the period from 2005-2015. The report provides 54 recommendations for the country’s progress toward sustainable economic development over the next ten years and primarily focuses on improvements in air quality, waste and water management, environmental governance and management, green growth, climate change, conservation, and the sustainable use of biological diversity.

Colombia

National Registry of Authorized Importers and Sellers of Raw Mercury and Mercury-Containing Products Regulated

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism has published a resolution (No. 130/2017) that establishes requirements and procedures for registering in the National Registry of Authorized Importers and Marketers (RUNIC) of raw mercury and mercury-containing products listed in Decree No. 2133/2016 (establishing control measures for the import and marketing of raw mercury and mercury-containing products). The Resolution went into effect after its publication in the Official Gazette.

Regulation of Chemicals for Industrial Use Proposed

The Ministries of Health, Labor, Commerce, and Environment have published a draft decree that would require entities that manufacture, import, sell, distribute or transport, or handle chemicals for industrial use to adopt self-management mechanisms and information systems to help protect human health and the environment. If the draft decree is adopted as proposed, manufacturers and importers would be subject to registration, risk self-assessment, and risk management program requirements. The draft decree is open for public comment until March 2, 2017. Those interested in submitting comments may send them electronically to Diego Escobar at diescobar@minambiente.gov.co or Rodolfo Alarcon at ralarcon@minambiente.gov.co.

New Lead Restrictions Bill in the Works

According to a recent Senate press release, Senator Nadia Blel Scaff will be proposing another lead restrictions bill to protect children from risks associated with lead exposure in the new legislature after her previous proposal ultimately failed, unable to gain the momentum it needed to achieve Congressional approval.

Technical Guide for the Implementation of Detergents and Soaps Regulation Published

The Ministry of Environment has published a technical guide to implement Resolution No. 0689/2016, which establishes maximum limits of phosphorus and biodegradability requirements for detergents and soaps. Phosphorus limits went into effect on November 5, 2016, and biodegradability requirements will enter into force on May 5, 2017.

Colombia Joins Environmental OECD Environmental Policy Committee

With the issuance of the National Policy for the Integrated Management of Solid Waste (CONPES 3874/2016), the National Policy for Risk Management Associated with the Use of Chemical Substances (CONPES 3868/2016), carbon and plastic bag taxes, and incentives to promote non-conventional renewable energies and green business strategies, Colombia completed the tasks needed to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Environmental Policy Committee, while progressing in the pending tasks needed to join the Organization's Chemical Committee, which should be completed by the end of the year. Colombia’s accession to the OECD relies on positive formal opinions from all 23 OECD technical committees, demonstrating their confidence in the country’s willingness and ability to comply with OECD standards and instruments.

Costa Rica

National Chemical Safety Policy Promulgated

The Ministries of Health, Finance, Environment, Labor, Agriculture, and Exterior Relations published Executive Decree No. 40148-S-MINAE-MAG-MTSS-RE-H promulgating the National Chemical Safety Policy. The purpose of the policy is to achieve integrated management of chemical substances during all phases of the chemical life-cycle to minimize adverse effects on human health and the environment. The Policy provides a blueprint for future: more stringent regulations on chemical substances and goods that contain them — a region-wide trend in Latin America.

Single-Use Plastic and Expanded Polystyrene for Food Consumption Prohibited in Ministry of Environment & Energy Procurement

The Ministry of Environment and Energy has issued guidelines (Directive No. 1/2017) to its directors prohibiting the purchase of single-use plastic products, including expanded polystyrene, used in food consumption. The prohibition applies to new institutional purchases through the Ministry’s ordinary budget or through contracted services related to the acquisition of containers, packaging, and utensils.

Ecuador

National Chemicals Management Program Developed

The Ministry of Environment has developed the “National Program for Adequate Management During the Life Cycle of Chemical Substances” through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP-Ecuador) with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to help meet its commitments under the Stockholm and Minamata Conventions. The Program seeks to address two major global environmental problems: 1) Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) emissions and 2) mercury. It consists of four main components: 1) strengthening institutional capacity and regulatory framework based on the life cycle of chemicals, 2) elimination and reduction of POPs, 3) focus on mercury and implementation of strategies to reduce and eliminate in priority sectors, and 4) increased awareness, monitoring and dissemination of results and lessons learned.

Ecuador Will Update National Mercury Inventory

Ecuador will begin updating its national mercury emissions inventory and developing mercury risk management plans in support of its commitments under the Minamata Convention on mercury, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, which Ecuador ratified on July 29, 2016.

Mexico

LED Lamp Energy Efficiency Standard Finalized

The Secretariat of Energy has published NOM-030-ENER-2016, a technical standard that establishes energy efficiency specifications for general illumination integrated LED Lamps, with associated testing, certification and labeling requirements. The draft standard is applicable to all omnidirectional and directional LED lamps intended for general illumination manufactured or imported into Mexico with an alternating current power supply of 100 V to 277 V and a frequency of 50 Hz or 60 Hz. It repeals and replaces NOM-030-ENER-2012 and will enter into force 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

Bill Governing the Management and Disposal of Urban Solid and Special Management Wastes Proposed

A bill proposed in the Senate would modify the General Waste Law to strengthen provisions governing the integrated management and disposal of urban solid and special management wastes. It would establish the definition of an open air dump and would hold federal authorities responsible for the integrated management of special management wastes, and municipal authorities responsible for the integrated management of urban solid wastes. The proposal calls for federal and municipal authorities to ensure that covered wastes are properly disposed of according to current regulations and are not taken to open air dumps for final disposal. It also directs these authorities to impose penalties for noncompliance with such rules.

Regulation of Single-Use Plastic and Expanded Polystyrene Proposed

A bill proposed in the Chamber of Deputies would modify the General Law for Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection to call for federal authorities to issue regulations to gradually eliminate the production, distribution, and use of disposable, single-use plastic and expanded polystyrene materials, products, containers, packaging, and packing materials, with a focus on single-use utensils for food consumption. The bill would aim to achieve an 85% reduction in these materials by 2019 and total elimination by 2021.

Updated Draft National System for the Protection of Consumers Proposed

The National Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO) has published an updated draft decree establishing the National Consumer Protection System, a strategy that aims to integrate and coordinate actions of the public, private, and social sectors to protect the rights of consumers, as well as to assist in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the national consumer protection policy. As a key component of the System, the draft decree envisions the creation of an Intersecretarial Commission for its development and maintenance.

2017 National Program for Standardization Finalized

The Secretariat of Economy has finalized its 2017 National Program for Standardization, a document identifying the official (NOMs) and non-binding (NMXs) standards currently under development by the Mexican government. The National Program is published annually in Mexico's Official Gazette and is used to inform the public of new and ongoing regulatory initiatives. [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

Mexico City Publishes its First Constitution

On February 5, 2017, Mexico City reached a historic milestone with the approval of its first Political Constitution as an autonomous city. Before this date, Mexico City was a Federal District under the control of the central government. The process for developing the new constitution was launched in 2015 and involved many different stakeholders—some of the document’s articles were even “crowdsourced” through a massive online campaign and survey. The document will enter into force on September 17, 2018.

Peru

A Supreme Decree (No. 006-2017-PCM) has been published in the Official Gazette approving the National Policy for the Protection and Defense of Consumers. The Policy has four main objectives: 1) implement activities to educate market players (consumers and suppliers) on consumer rights and ensure that these rights are upheld; 2) guarantee the safety of consumers in the framework of consumer relations; 3) implement mechanisms to prevent and resolve disputes between consumers and suppliers, and 4) strengthen the National  Integrated System for Consumer Protection. Within 30 days of the Supreme Decree’s publication, the National Plan for the Protection and Defense of Consumers 2017-2020 will be published as a tool to implement the Policy.