Cambodia-Africa: Cashew Nuts Association of Cambodia (CAC) Signs MoU with African Cashew Alliance (ACA)

On February 3, 2024, the Cashew Nuts Association of Cambodia (CAC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), as reported by the Phnom Penh Post. The objective of the MoU is to promote cooperation between the parties, facilitating the exchange of studies on the commodity from Africa and Cambodia, allowing access to farms and processing facilities in the respective countries, and participating in forums and conferences organized by both sides. “The [ACA] is a large alliance. With the MoU signed, we will continue to engage in in-depth discussions to assist cashew growers from both sides in understanding techniques to supply cashew nuts to processing countries like Vietnam and India,” CAC Vice President Suy Kokthean told the newspaper.

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EU: Update on Sustainability Reporting Standards

In December 2023, the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) were published in the Official Journal of the European Union under Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2023/2772 of 31 July 2023. This regulation sets the standards for companies to use in carrying out their reporting under the framework of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

On January 24, 2024, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) voted in favor a Commission proposal that would delay both the adoption of sector-specific standards and the application of sustainability reporting obligations to certain third-country undertakings until June 2026. The JURI Committee report was tabled for a plenary vote but, at the time of writing, no date has been set.

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EU: Parliament Approves New Directive Banning Greenwashing

On January 17, 2024, the European Parliament voted in favor of the compromise text for an EU directive on empowering consumers for the green transition. This directive seeks to protect consumers from misleading marketing practices by banning problematic marketing practices related to greenwashing and the early obsolescence of goods.

Among other provisions, the directive prohibits the use of:

  • Generic environmental claims, e.g. “environmentally friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” “climate-neutral” or “eco,” without proof.
  • Claims that a product has a neutral, reduced or positive impact on the environment because of emissions offsetting schemes.
  • Sustainability labels not based on approved certification schemes or established by public authorities.

Once the Council gives its final approval, the directive will be signed into law. Following publication in the Official Journal, member states will have 24 months to transpose the directive into national law.

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EU: Council Adopts Position on Forced Labor Product Ban Proposal

On January 26, 2024, the Council adopted its position on the regulation prohibiting products made with forced labor on the EU market. The Council’s position envisages the creation of a “forced labor single portal,” which would provide access to relevant information and tools, including a single information submission point, where information concerning alleged forced labor violations can be submitted anonymously, as well as a database, guidelines and information on decisions taken.

The adopted position provides the Council presidency with a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament, which adopted its own position in November 2023. Interinstitutional negotiations began on January 30.

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Ghana: Swiss Government Grant to Boost Cashew Sector

The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has announced a US$10.5 million grant for the cashew and oil palm sectors under the umbrella of a five-year project known as the Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Program Phase II. The aim of the program is to contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth through enhanced trade and competitiveness in the cashew and oil palm value chains. As reported by the Ghanaian news outlet Business and Financial Times, the grant aims to achieve 20% domestic processing of cashew and oil palm over the project’s duration as well as comprehensive regulatory and value chain harmonization and capacity building.

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USA: California Water Commission Outlines Water Strategies

The California Water Commission has published a white paper containing potential statewide strategies for protecting people and wildlife in the event of drought. Released on January 17, 2024, the white paper underscores the importance of recognizing drought as a natural and inevitable element of California’s hydrologic cycle and outlines four strategies for augmenting the state’s drought resilience: 1) scale up groundwater recharge, 2) conduct watershed-level planning to reduce drought impacts to ecosystems, 3) better position communities to prepare for and respond to drought emergencies, and 4) support improved coordination, information and communication in drought and non-drought years. The Commission expects state decision-makers to weigh whether and when to move forward with the suggested strategies, which are intended to complement the important work already underway by state agencies.

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