Sun, Jan 03, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Firms to get help turning ‘green’

PRE-EMPTIVE MOVENew global measures imposing duties on carbon emissions could have a negative impact on the export of IT-related Taiwanese products

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The government will soon begin promoting a carbon footprint labeling system to help local businesses join the “green” bandwagon and mitigate global warming, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) said yesterday.

With the international community placing a growing priority on disclosing the carbon footprint of consumer products, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will introduce the labeling system in March to help consumers understand the environmental impact of the items they buy, the IDB said.

Global vendors are also putting pressure on local manufacturers to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions their goods generate.

Personal computer giant HP has required that 70 percent of its Taiwan-based suppliers disclose information on the level of emissions their goods generate, a move expected to affect the local supply chain for the IT industry, the IDB said.

Aside from HP, leading multinationals such as Dell, Motorola and Nokia will also take measures to honor their commitment to cut emissions, the bureau said.

The labeling system has also taken on a sense of urgency because other countries are likely in the short term to impose non-tariff barriers on imported goods lacking carbon footprint labels, which could threaten Taiwanese exports.

Wal-Mart Stores, for example, will demand that suppliers attach carbon footprint data to their products from 2014, the IDB said.

To help local suppliers cope with the pressure, the IDB will subsidize companies that voluntarily take part in the labeling program.

It will also help upstream and downstream manufacturers in the local steel, plastics and chemical sectors establish a carbon ­emissions coefficient database to help them benchmark the carbon footprint of their goods, bureau officials said.

The Taiwan Electric and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, the Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association and the Taiwan Printed Circuit Association have all asked for labeling assistance on behalf of their members, the bureau said.

As part of the process, the IDB has begun helping Lite-On Technology Co trace the carbon footprint of the light-emitting diode components it manufactures and to set up its own verification and assessment process, IDB officials said.

No countries or regions have yet to impose carbon duties on imported goods, but the bureau suggested that the EU could be the first to levy the environmental tariffs given that it has vigorously implemented the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) to protect the natural environment.

If the EU imposes the duty and the US and Japan follow suit, 30 percent of Taiwan’s outbound shipments that go to the three economies would be vulnerable, the IDB said. In that case, locally manufactured IT-related products, which form the bulk of Taiwan’s exports, along with photovoltaic, plastic and machinery exports, might be severely affected, underscoring the urgent need for local businesses to collaborate on carbon emissions reduction, the IDB said.

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