Latin American Environmental Regulatory Tracker
Our monthly Latin American Environmental Regulatory Tracker lists pending and recently enacted environmental laws and regulations in several Latin American countries. The January 2016 issue covers developments from November 16 to December 15.
A bill (No. 6067-D-2015) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies to progressively implement carbon neutral public policies aimed at reducing GHG emissions in Argentina by 15%. Provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires would be invited to adhere to the Bill’s provisions and designate authorities to oversee its implementation.
The Economic Development, Industry, and Commerce Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has voted to approve a set of tax incentives that would reward companies for a range of environmentally beneficial practices, principally recycling and cleaner production processes. Already passed by the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee, Bill No. 2101/2011 now moves to the Finance and Taxation Committee and the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee for review.
A bill (No. 750/2015) has been proposed in the Senate to modify the National Policy on Climate Change (No. 12.187/2009) to adopt additional climate change commitments. Under the Bill, Brazil would pledge to reduce its emissions by 37% by 2025 and 43% by 2030, using 2005 as the base year.
The Ministry of Environment (MMA) signed a “sectoral agreement” with 20 trade associations representing manufacturers and importers of packaging materials and packaged products. The agreement establishes the legal framework for a nationwide take-back system for “packaging-in-general.” Implementation of the system is set to begin during 2016 in 12 major cities, with eventual expansion to the rest of Brazil.
A bill (No. 3732/2015) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies that would require providers of electronic products and their components to offer consumers a discount of at least 5% on the price of new products in exchange for similar used products. The Bill is intended to provide an incentive for consumers to return end-of-life electronic products to facilitate compliance with the reverse logistics requirements of the National Solid Waste Policy Law (No. 12305/2010).
A report presented to the Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in the Chamber of Deputies recommended approval of five bills related to take-back of electronic products:
- Bill No. 2045/2011: On the Collection and Environmentally Adequate Destination of Technological Wastes.
- Bill No. 3551/2012: On the Discard and Final Disposal of Used Batteries.
- Bill No. 4272/2012: Establishing the Obligation to Install Collection Points and Collect Used Batteries and Aerosol Containers in Commercial Establishments That Sell These Products.
- Bill No. 2426/2015: To Institute a Selective Collection Program for Electronic and Technological Wastes.
- Bill No. 2940/2015: Establishing Standards for the Management and Final Disposition of Electronic Waste.
The Environment Committee in the Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill (No. 2045/11), which would require manufacturers, importers and retailers of a wide range of electrical products to establish take-back systems, with associated collection quotas and marking requirements. The Bill now moves to the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship Committee for review.
A bill (No. 3705/2015) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies that would establish a voluntary “Green Seal” ecolabel to certify companies that adopt measures to reduce water consumption, increase energy efficiency, and reduce, reuse and recycle materials and resources. Companies that earn the Green Seal would receive preferential treatment in federal procurement decisions.
The Working Group on Corporate Sustainability Reports has published guidelines for the federal government to develop the National Strategy for the Promotion of Corporate Sustainability Reports. The guidelines are divided into three sections:
- The importance of reporting financial and non-financial information.
- Reporting platforms within a national and international context.
- Recommendations made by the Working Group.
Chile's National Institute of Standardization (INN) has published a draft technical standard (prNCh3383), which establishes provisions for the transboundary movement of used electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and creates EEE classification categories, according to size and use. The Draft Standard is open for public comment until February 15, 2016.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved Resolution 512, calling for the President to adopt legally binding climate change legislation and public policies that:
- Strengthen the national institutional framework for the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of climate change instruments.
- Create a fund in 2017 to support climate change initiatives.
The Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications has adopted sanctions for the transport of waste to illegal dumping sites (Law No. 20.879). With the Law's entry into force, any person caught transporting, disposing, or ordering the transport or disposal of waste on streets, vacant lots, or unregulated landfills by means of a motorized or non-motorized vehicle would be subject to new penalties.
Chile's electricity regulatory agency, the Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels (SEC), has published Resolution No. 10.753, approving Protocol PE No. 1/18/2-1, which establishes new requirements for energy efficiency testing and certification of microwave ovens in both active and standby mode. PE No. 1/18/2-1 becomes mandatory for all sales of covered products by manufacturers, importers, and retailers as of October 30, 2016.
A bill (No. 163/2015C) has been proposed in the Chamber of Deputies that would promote reusable plastic bags and phase out the production, use, and disposal of single-use plastic bags. The Bill would aim to reduce single-use plastic bags by 80% by 2020 and 100% by 2025.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) detected the irregular handling of 408 tons of hazardous waste, including 36 tons of electronic waste, over the course of eight National Highway Operations conducted in 2015. The Operations were carried out to ensure compliance with national laws and regulations pertaining to the transport of hazardous materials, substances, and wastes.
The Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) has published its responses to comments received on NOM-133-SEMARNAT-2015, the proposed modifications to NOM-133-SEMARNAT-2000, Management Specifications for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). The NOM applies to all entities that possess PCB-contaminated equipment and/or waste, as well as those entities that provide services to manage them.
Senate Steps Up Focus on Environmental Issues
Two Agreements have been published in the Senate. The first Agreement urges the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) to continue to strengthen its climate change mitigation and adaptation programs, as well as those that aim to protect the ozone layer. The second Agreement urges the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, in coordination with SEMARNAT and other environmental authorities, to strengthen actions to promote public awareness on the negative effects of climate change.
Responsible Plastic Bag Use
An Agreement has been published in the Senate, urging SEMARNAT, in coordination with state and municipal environmental authorities, to design and implement public awareness campaigns on the responsible use of plastics bags, in order to reduce waste.
Integrated Waste Management of Cells and Batteries
An Agreement has been published in the Senate, urging SEMARNAT, in coordination with state and municipal environmental authorities, to strengthen actions for the integral management of cells and batteries. The Agreement calls for authorities to carry out public awareness campaigns that promote proper waste management for these end-of-life products.
The Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has received a revised submission from several individuals and NGOs, asserting that Mexico is failing to effectively enforce federal environmental laws as it implements the "National Program for the Integral Management of Televisions Discarded Due to the Transition to Digital Televisions." Originally submitted August 24, 2015, Submission SEM-15-002 was rejected by CEC on September 22, 2015 after the Secretariat determined that the document did not meet the admissibility criteria set out in Article 14(1) of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC). The submitting parties were given 60 days to provide a revised submission.
Chamber of Deputies Pushes for Integral Management of Discarded Analog TVs
Since the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) received Submission SEM-15-002 on Mexico’s mismanagement of discarded analog TVs, several agreements have been published in the Chamber of Deputies that:
- Urge the federal government to develop a national campaign to inform and encourage the public to turn in their analog TVs to collection centers where they can be properly disposed.
- Call for the Secretariat of Environment (SEMARNAT) and the Secretariat of Communication and Transportation (SCT) to develop a policy and public awareness campaign on the collection process for discarded analog TVs, as well as the potential environmental and health risks associated with inadequate waste management.
- Urge the Executive Power to: conduct a study on the magnitude of analog TV waste mismanagement in Mexico, develop new metrics to gauge the efficacy of the Program, design a unified procedure for managing discarded analog TVs across the country, conduct public awareness campaigns on proper waste management, promote training and performance evaluation for involved waste management personnel, and ensure monitoring and evaluation of waste management infrastructure and processes.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. As a ratifying party member, Peru pledges to develop legally binding commitments to reduce mercury pollution within the country.
A bill to overhaul Peru's General Waste Law (No. 27314/2000) has been proposed that would strengthen the national regulatory framework on waste management. Among its key provisions, the Bill would expand responsibilities for waste generators—defined broadly to include producers and importers—and mandate new packaging and container requirements.
As part of our International Environmental Law practice group, Beveridge & Diamond's Latin America practice group helps multinational clients navigate dynamic and unprecedented change in Latin American environmental law. We counsel clients from various industrial sectors on a wide range of issues arising under the domestic environmental regulations of most Latin American countries with an emphasis in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. For more information, please contact the authors.