[acn-l] International: UNEP Voluntary Codes/ Indonesian Fires

Gary Gallon, Canadian Institute for Business & Environment (cibe at web.net)
Fri, 01 May 1998 12:03:21 -0300

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INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL INTERNATIONAL
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UNEP ISSUES NEW REPORT ON VOLUNTARY INDUSTRY CODES OF CONDUCT FOR THE
ENVIRONMENT

Chapter 30 of Agenda 21 provides for the development of voluntary industry
codes of conduct. UNEP's Industry and Environment Centre just issued a new
technical paper entitled "Voluntary Industry Codes of Conduct for the
Environment". It provides guidance on how to develop and use voluntary
codes. It demonstrates what can be achieved by providing real examples
from leading voluntary codes. And it identifies how voluntary codes can be
used as a tool to contribute to sustainable development. The paper
discusses what can and cannot be done, stressing the need for government
regulations as a necessary adjunct to voluntary agreements. To order
"Voluntary Industry Codes of Conduct for the Environment" or other UNEP IE
publications, please fill in and return the following form to SMI
(Distribution Services) Limited, P.O. Box 119, Stevenage, Herfordshire
SG1 4TP England, Fax +44-1438-748-844, E-mail unepie at unep.fr

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NEW VOLUNTARY COOPERATION IN THE U.S.

The report, "Innovative Public-Private Partnerships Environmental
Initiatives", published by the U.S. Conference Board, outlines some of the
successes and the appropriate actions for voluntary environmental measures
in the U.S. Meredith Whiting, co-author of the report states that"the
biggest perceived barrier to the success of environmental initiatives seems
to be inflexibility within the EPA, a result in large part of its
non-negotiable mandate to enforce the law." She adds that"Business leaders
feel that state programs are more accessible than federal ones -- mainly
because they are more flexible and can accommodate individual
circumstances. Also, the development of mutual trust is the basis for any
environmental partnership to be successful. The report describes a number
of effective business/governmental alliances including the EPA Region IX
MERIT Partnership for Pollution Prevention, Pennsylvania Land Recycling
Program and Ohio Prevention First Initiative. The trend toward
business/government partnerships is most obvious in the creation of the
President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). SourceThe E-Wire
Internet News Service, ph. 1-800-832-5522.

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GENERAL ELECTRIC CO., MASSACHUSETTS. FACES MAJOR CLEAN UP COSTS

Negotiations for a voluntary agreement between the General Electric Co.
operations in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency broke down. As a result, the US EPA will be seeking
Superfund status for the parent company of GE Canada Ltd. The General
Electric plant has substantial PCB contamination problems on its site and
in the sediments of the adjoining Housatonic River. The EPA said it would
also issue enforcement orders against GE under other federal laws to force
GE to immediately clean up two miles of the Housatonic downstream, which is
the most heavily polluted section of the river. SourceWall Street Journal,
April 7, 1998.

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UNOCAL TO PAY $7 MILLION IN AIR POLLUTION CASE

Unocal Corp. agreed Tuesday to more than $7 million in penalties and
environmental improvements to settle a federal lawsuit over air pollution
violations at the company's ammonia and urea fertilizer production plant in
Kenai, Alaska, federal officials said. Under the settlement, Unocal will
pay a $550,000 civil penalty and spend more than $6.6 million in projects
to improve environmental conditions at the plant, said the Environmental
Protection Agency. The deal resolves a lawsuit filed in October by the U.S.
Justice Department in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. The lawsuit
alleged that Unocal violated Alaska's federally approved state standards by
releasing air pollutants in concentrations above limits allowed by the
plant's Clean Air Act permits, the EPA said. SourceReuters Ltd. 1998.

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EXXON OIL CO. IS THE LARGEST U.S. DONOR TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Exxon Corp. led the list of the top 10 corporate contributors to
environmental causes, according to an annual analysis by "Corporate Giving
Watch." The most recent data, for 1996, include foundation giving, direct
donations, subsidies, and non -monetary contributions. More than $1 million
of Exxon's $3,574,095 contributions went for tiger conservation projects,
part of the company's five-year, $5 million pledge to this issue. Exxon
made several other significant contributions to funds protecting
peregrines, falcons, manatees, and penguins. The company also supported an
array of parks, tree planting, nature centers, and other programs in
communities where it operates. Also in the U.S. top 10 were

o CIGNA Corp. ($2.7 million), focusing on Philadelphia and Hartford,
Connecticut
o Chevron Corp. ($2 million), focusing on habitat preservation in
California
o IBM Corp. ($1.7 million), focusing on university research programs
o Patagonia ($1.2 million), focusing on grassroots organizations with
activist agendas
o General Motors ($1.1 million), focusing on energy conservation and The
Nature Conservancy
o Hewlett-Packard Co. ($652,000), focus not specified
o Citibank ($576,447), focusing on organizations in New York and other
operating locations
o J.P. Morgan & Co. ($520,026), focusing on land preservation,
recycling, research, and economic analysis
o Johnson & Johnson ($513,500), focusing on The Nature Conservancy projects

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CANADA SIGNED KYOTO PROTOCOL APRIL 29, 1998 IN N.Y.

Canada signed the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change at the United Nations in
New York. Federal Environment Minister Christine Stewart signed the Kyoto
Protocol on behalf of the Government of Canada before attending the sixth
international meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development. "The
signing of the Kyoto Protocol is an important milestone for Canada and
demonstrates our commitment to moving forward, domestically and
internationally, on meeting our minus 6% goal," said Minister Stewart.
Canada joins Japan, members of the European Union, and other nations in
signing the Protocol in New York this week. Switzerland and members of the
Association of Island States have already signed. The G-8 countries have
all stated that they intend to sign the Protocol within the year. See
Environment Canada's Greenlane, http//www.doe.ca/envhome.html/.

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WATER SCARCITY CONFLICTS LOOM

Scarce global water resources could dampen economic growth or even cause
future wars, France's environment minister told an international water
conference in March in Paris."Unless there is a rapid change in methods of
water production and consumption, this resource, which only exists in
limited amounts, will become an important brake on economic development,''
Environment Minister Dominique Voynet said. "It may even become a source of
new and dramatic conflicts,'' she told the forum. Almost two thirds of
humanity might suffer from moderate to serious water shortage before the
year 2005. A fifth of the world's population already lacks reliable access
to clean water and, with birth rates climbing in many regions, the problem
was becoming acute. Abu Zeid, president of the World Water Council, told
the conference that up to 10 million people died each year because of
water-borne diseases such as typhoid and dengue fever. Dire warnings about
water shortages were first raised at a U.N. conference in Stockholm in 1972
and again at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil. Source, Crispian Balmer
Reuters, Paris

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WATER SHORTAGE CONFLICTISRAEL AND PALESTINE

Access to groundwater supplies for drinking and watering crops is growing
as an environmental conflict issue between Israel and Palestine. Without
water conservation, the growing demands for water to met population growth
and new agri-business activities, will out strip available water supplies.
According to an IPS news story out of the Middle East, when Israel handed
over parts of West Bank territory to Palestinians in December 1995, it kept
control over the sources of water. Today, if Palestinians want to drill new
wells, they must first get permission from Israel. Palestinians say this
leaves them with less water than the minimum daily amount needed for basic
use. Currently, per capita use of water in Palestine is one-fifth of the
amount consumed by the average Israeli, as measured by the United States
Agency for International Development. When water negotiators meet,
Palestinians focus almost exclusively on water rights. ''That is the most
important issue for us,'' said Fadel Qawash, the deputy head to the
negotiations on water for the Palestinian side. "With Israel in control,
they allow us one well here, one well there". By contrast, none of the 144
Israeli settlements that dot the West Bank have water shortages. Where a
Palestinian villager typically uses 50 litres of water per day, Israeli
settlers use 250 gallons. The main West Bank aquifer straddles the
boundary. When rain falls on mountains in the West Bank, it seeps downhill
toward Israeli territory and into an underground reservoir that collects on
both sides of the demarcation line. Israel gets 25 percent of its water
from this reservoir and pumps some of it back to the settlements. Only six
percent of Palestinian agricultural land is irrigated; the rest depends on
rainwater. As well, IPS reports that few Palestinian areas have proper
waste water facilities, water pipes are old and broken and reservoirs are
virtually nonexistent.

Water experts estimate only one small West Bank aquifer has yet to be
tapped to capacity. Yet when Palestinians twice drilled there for water,
the well came up dry. Worse, by 2010, the demands of a larger population
could use up half of the groundwater available in the shared West Bank
aquifer. Water experts warn that such a scenario would cause a collapse of
the underground water system and precipitate years of drought. By 2020, the
population is expected to have doubled to 14 million. Baskin says Israel
has started desalinating water at a plant in the resort town of Eilat. But
Ben-Meir said desalinisation in large enough quantities to matter is not
yet an option that Israel's treasury wants to authorise or that the
Palestinians can afford. Source "Palestinians And Israelis Lock Horns Over
Water", By Deborah Horan, InterPress Agency (IPS).

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OVER LOGGING IS REDUCING AVAILABLE WOOD SUPPLY
AND COMPETING FOR OTHER ECONOMIC USES OF FORESTS

The Worldwatch Institute has come out with its latest research paper, which
found that "dramatically increasing demand for paper and other wood
products, combined with poor government policies, corruption, illegal
logging, and industrial burning of thousands of hectares for quick profit,
are turning local forest destruction into a global catastrophe". "Half the
forests that once covered the earth are gone, and deforestation has been
accelerating in the last 30 years," says Janet Abramovitz, author of Taking
a Stand Cultivating a New Relationship With the World's Forests. Each year
around the world another 16 million hectares of natural forest are razed-an
area the size of Washington State. Up to one quarter of all the carbon
added to the atmosphere by human activities now comes from cutting and
burning forests." The report examines mounting pressures on forest
ecosystems, including --

***In the last 35 years, wood consumption has doubled, and paper use has
more than tripled. The less than one-fifth of the world's population who
live in Europe, the U.S., and Japan, consume over one-half of the world's
timber, and more than two-thirds of its paper. Japan consumes almost as
much paper as China, a country with nearly ten times as many people.

***Subsidies for logging, processing, road building, and infrastructure are
so large that governments are essentially paying private interests to take
the timber and convert the land to other uses. Indonesia's give-away timber
concessions cost the government $2.5 billion in lost revenues in 1990
alone. In the United States, timber sales from national forests lost over
$1 billion from 1992 to 1994.

***Since 1960, legal trade in forest products has tripled to $142 billion
in 1995 (in constant dollars), while substantial amounts of illegal trade
go unreported. Brazil, now the world's fourth largest timber producer,
estimates that 80 percent of logging in the Amazon is illegal.

"We need to scale up efforts already underway to meet the need for forest
products while still preserving the long-term values of intact forests,"
says Abramovitz, pointing to positive developments including an increase
in paper recycling, bringing the worldwide average up to 40 percent; less
destructive methods for harvesting and processing wood; increased consumer
demand for products from sustainably managed forests, leading retailers
like Home Depot in the U.S. and B&Q in the U.K. to sell products from
certified well-managed forests. Visit the website http//www.worldwatch.org/.

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VANCOUVER HOST TO INTERNATIONAL WATER CONFERENCE

Vancouver, B.C. will host the Water Quality International Conference, June
21-26, 1998 It will address wastewater and water treatment processes,
sources and impacts of pollutants on receiving waters, hazardous waste
management and source control, environmental restoration and site
remediation. The Canadian Pulp and Paper Association will host a forum on
the development and implementation of new technologies and practices which
are at the forefront of the industry's efforts towards more sustainable
production systems. There will be a special forum on the growing trend in
private partnerships in public works. ContactConference Secretariat, Suite
645, 375 Water St., Vancouver, BC V6B 5C6, Tel(604) 681-5226, Fax(604)
681-2503.

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EU ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS REACH AGREEMENT

European Union (EU) environment ministers held their first Environment
Council meeting in March 1998 passing four EU environmental laws and
discussing progress on others. The ministers gave a go-ahead for talks to
proceed on an EU-wide voluntary agreement on improving the fuel efficiency
of cars, according to the Environmental News Service (ENS). The four
agreements were on -

* LIGHT VANS DIRECTIVE new emissions standards and requirements for
on-board diagnostics are to be introduced for commercial vehicles up to 3.5
tonnes in weight from 2000.

* LANDFILL DIRECTIVE setting out new licensing requirements for the
majority of EU landfill sites and will require the volume of biodegradable
waste land filled to be reduced to 35% of 1995 levels by 2016.

* SOLVENTS/VOC EMISSIONS DIRECTIVE reducing ground-level ozone, and
solvents/ VOCs emissions cut of at least 50% of 1990 levels by 2010.

* CO2 MONITORING DECISION laying down rules for monitoring of carbon
dioxide emissions in the EU beyond 2000.

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INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORPORATION (IFC) DESIGNING POLICIES FOR
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The International Finance Corporation is the segment of the World Bank
group which lends to the private sector. The IFC is preparing a framework
that will improve the environmental and social performance of IFC projects.
These policies and procedures will set the "ground-rules" for the social
and environmental responsibilities of World Bank sponsored private sector
development in the developing world. Public and private sector positions
are being posting on the website http//www.anthrotech.com/ISCSfAA/.

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ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS MET AT OECD IN PARIS

Canada's Environment Minister, Christine Stewart was among the national
environment ministers from the 29 nation members of the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that met in Paris April 1998.
Protecting the environment against the challenges of globalisation was top
of the agenda. The Paris-based OECD, which serves as a policy think tank
for industrialised countries, has been studying ways of boosting the eco-
efficiency use of natural resources.

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INDONESIAN FIRESRAINFALL NOT ENOUGH

Mr. Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP), welcomes the reports of recent rains in Indonesia's
forest-fire ravaged East Kalimantan province. However, United Nations
sources confirm that the amount of rain has been insufficient to reduce the
fires significantly and has fallen very unevenly throughout the province.
Mr. Toepfer said that "however, the United Nations system's efforts to
mobilize international assistance to fight the catastrophic fires must
continue." UNEP has been asked by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to
coordinate the United Nations response to the fires. Donor countries are
being requested to provide emergency assistance to Indonesia in line with a
$10 million short-term action plan. The latest report of the United Nations
Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) mission to Indonesia estimates
that over 250,000 hectares of land in East Kalimantan have been razed by
fires this year. For more information, contact Vladimir Sakharov, Head of
Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Disaster Response Branch, OCHA, Geneva,
tel 41-22-917-1142, fax 41-22- 907-0257; Gertrud Attar, UNEP Information
Officer in Geneva, on tel.(+41-22) 979 9234, fax (+41-22) 797-3464; or Jim
Sniffen, UNEP Information Officer in New York, tel1-212-963-8094,
fax1-212-963-7341, e-mail sniffenj at un.org.

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BURNING SMOG OVER PACIFIC ISLANDS

Throat-burning smog that afflicts huge cities like Los Angeles and Mexico
City is also contaminating the air above pristine South Sea islands like
Fiji and Tahiti, reports Rueters. The report is based upon the work of F.
Sherwood Rowland, a Nobel Prize-winning expert in atmospheric chemistry at
the University of California, and his colleague, Donald Blake. They
presented their findings at national meetings of the American Chemical
Society in Dallas. They found that the high ozone smog levels represented
"a major atmospheric problem for the 21st century". Air quality at 8,000
feet (2,438 meters) and higher, above the South Pacific was discovered to
have ozone levels that would "`trigger a first-stage smog alert' in some of
the world's more congested, polluted cities." The Galapagos Islands near
Ecuador was also found to have this high level of smog in the air above the
surface. The scientists attributed the South Sea air pollution to the
forest and brushland fires in Africa, Indonesia, South America and
Australia. They say it "is carried thousands of miles by winds." Omitted
from this report and others is mention of the terrible smoke coming from
the burning peat in Indonesia. A tremendous amount of carbon dioxide is
being put into the atmosphere from the burning peat and coal fires,
covering about one million hectares. The peat fires are a result of
national policy in Indonesia coupled with dry conditions from the 1997-1998
El Nino. See the website
http//www.concentric.net/~blazingt/info/sarawak.htm> or go to the main page
at <http//www.concentric.net/~blazingt> from where you can click on the
article and see other related materials.)

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ASEAN MINISTERS MET APRIL 4 ON INDONESIAN FIRES

Environment ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) met in Brunei April 4, 1998 to review efforts to combat smog from
forest and bush fires. It is the third meeting of the ministers from the
nine-nation ASEAN on Indonesian fires They last met in February 1998 in
Kuching, Malaysia, and appealed for international aid to help prevent a
recurrence of last year's smog. New fires have broken out in Indonesia,
Malaysia and Brunei. Brunei had to close schools for two weeks. Sultan
Hassanal Bolkiah led prayers at a mosque for rain to put out fire.

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EUROPEAN UNION CALLS FOR MEASURES TO END TROPICAL FIRES

The April ‘98 plenary meeting of the European Parliament has adopted an
urgent resolution on the massive forest fires in Indonesia, Thailand and
Brazil. The Parliament recognized that the underlying cause of the
catastrophe lies in the radical change in the tropical forest landscape,
engineered by forest clearance for ill-planned governmental development and
resettlement projects, large scale oil-palm plantations and commercial
logging. The resolution called for the Indonesian Government, "to stop
activities in the framework of the Mega-rice project on Kalimantan
(Indonesian Borneo)" and called upon the Commission and the Council to,
"give the support necessary for the Indonesian government to develop
alternative schemes to the Mega- rice project". The Parliament also called
upon the EU to "encourage the governments of Indonesia and Brazil to adopt
sustainable forest management".In its resolution, the Parliament also
placed considerable emphasis on the need to improve international emergency
action to extinguish the fires and to help human victims, especially the
indigenous population, such as the Dayaks of Kalimantan and the Indians of
Brazil. For further information, contact Mr. Hasjrul Junaid at the SKEPHI
Support Office in Europe at ph. +31-20-6147972.

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FINANCIAL INNOVATIONS FOR BIODIVERSITY WORKSHOP IN SLOVAKIA

The Convention on Biological Diversity is looking for the member nations to
provide financial support and incentives (Article 20.1) and to strengthen
existing financial institutions (Article 21.4) in support of its
objectives. This and other financial innovation measures will be discussed
at the 10th Global Biodiversity Forum May 1 to 3, 1998 in Bratislava,
Slovakia. The workshop will explore new innovations in both public and
private finance which generate substantive investments in support of the
global biodiversity agenda. An example is the Trust for Nature in Australia
which operates a revolving fund for land purchases with conservation
significance. The Kenya Wildlife Service has a structured set of gate fees
for raising significant revenues from various domestic and foreign tourist
markets. Canada has amended its Income Tax Act to allow for a tax exemption
for the donation of ecologically-sensitive lands. In South Africa, wild
animals are traded in auction markets and thus have real market values. The
Netherlands government provides a tax break for the creation of green
investment funds in private banks. Drawing from such case studies. For
proceedings contact Frank Vorhies, IUCN Economics Service Unit,
economics at indaba.iucn.org. For more information on GBF10, please visit
http//iucn.org/themes/gbf/10

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SWEDISH SEMINAR ON ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS

The 5th Ulvön Conference on Environmental Economics will be held June 16 -
18, 1998 on Wolf Island, 500 km north of Stockholm, Sweden. The main
purpose of the Ulvön Conference on Environmental Economics is to provide a
forum for the dissemination of high quality research in environmental
economics. A key purpose is to allow PhD students present their work and
interact with a number of leading researchers in the field. Invited
speakers 1998 includeGeoffrey Heal, Steve Polasky, Hirofumi Uzawa, and
Shawna Grosskopf . The conference is organised by Professor Bengt Kriström
at the Dept. of Forest Economics at the Swedish University of Agricultural
Sciences and sponsored by the Swedish Council for Forestry and Agricultural
Research (SJFR), and marks the culmination of a large project involving
researchers from several disciplines, including ecology, economics and
political science. The number of participants is limited to about 25. In
case of excess demand, a first-come-first-served policy will be used.
Contact Ms Helen Stiegler, Dept of Forest Economics, SLU, S-901 83 UMEÅ,
Sweden, Fax+46-90-7866073, Phone+46-90-7865934, email
Helen.Stiegler at sekon.slu.se Conference fee of SEK 3 000 covers food and
lodging, the Seine-Sweep and local transportation. PhD students may apply
for a waiver of this fee from the organizers. SubmissionsBengt Kriström ,
Dept of Forest Economics, SLU, S-901 83 Umeå, Sweden. Fax +46-90-7866073,
ph. +46-90-7866147, Bengt.Kristrom at sekon.slu.se Deadlines for abstracts
and registration is May 11, 1998. The conference is sponsored by the
Swedish Council for Forestry and Agricultural Research (SJFR) and marks the
culmination of a large project involving researchers from several
disciplines, including ecology, economics and political sciences.

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CONNECT WITH CHILE'S CENTRE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH

I would like to invite you to visit the home page of the Chilean NGO CIPMA
(Centre for Environmental and Planning Research). CIPMA was founded in 1979
to Promote interdisciplinary research on growth, equity, and conservation
conducive to sustainable development. Distribute beyond academic circles
those scientific studies regarding sustainable development that are
relevant to the formulation of environmental policies. Stimulate
interaction between the academic and business community in the selection,
adaptation, and innovation of technologies appropriate to the ecosystems of
Chile. Generate opportunities for dialogue and discussion between different
sectors and positions with the aim of eliminating myths and prejudices that
impede the rational and objective treatment of environmental problems.
Promote activities that will enable the different social actors to resolve
conflicts and foster cooperation in the achievement of the country's
environmental potential. Assist local and regional initiatives for
decentralized management of sustainable development, consistent with
aspirations for regional self-determination. Stimulate the two-way flow of
information between Chile and the international community.
Websitehttp//www.cipma.cl/. Because the website information is in Spanish,
all of you who want to know more about us, just send me an email to
vtorres at cipma.cl

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HUMAN, NATURAL RESOURCES NEW FACTORS IN WORLD BANK RANKING OF NATIONS' WEALTH

New assessments of the value of human and natural resources are important
factors in the World Bank's latest ranking of the relative wealth of
nations. The Bank's report, "Expanding the Measure of Wealth, Indicators of
Environmentally Sustainable Development" is due for release this spring.
Contact Marshall Hoffman, Falls Church, VA, USA; ph. (703) 820-2244; fax
(703) 820-2271.

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Copyright (c) 1998 Canadian Institute for
Business and the Environment, Montreal
All rights reserved.
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Gary Gallon
President
Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
506 Victoria Ave.
Montreal, Quebec H3Y 2R5
Ph. (514) 369-0230, Fax (514) 369-3282
email: cibe at web.net