Chapter XII - Protection of the Atmosphere & Hazardous Wastes

   This document has been made available in electronic format
      by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA

  Contribution of Co-operative Enterprises and the International
     Co-operative Movement to Implementation of UN AGENDA 21:
       Programme of Action for Sustainable Development 

                     Prepared jointly by
             the International Co-operative Alliance
                      the United Nations
  Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

                 Geneva and New York, April 1995

        For information purposes only. Not an official
   document of the United Nations and not officially edited.

                       CHAPTER XII

A.  Reduction in air pollution

    In a number of countries consumer-owned wholesale and retail
co-operative groups, which normally operate large transportation
fleets, have adopted practices designed to reduce air pollution. 
In some countries co-operative movements - particularly consumer
co-operatives - have taken action to reduce pollution from their
transportation fleets. For example, in Japan the Kanagawa
consumer co-operative enterprise was planning in 1992 to replace
diesel trucks used for joint-purchase deliveries (i.e. home
deliveries) with electric vehicles which it was developing in
collaboration with 44 other Japanese co-operative enterprises.
145/ By 1989 the United Kingdom Co-operative Retail Services Ltd.
used only unleaded petrol for its car fleets. 146/ The Finnish
co-operative EKA group keeps pollution to the minimum by fitting
catalytic converters and by ensuring that stationary vehicles do
not keep engines running. 147/

   Many consumer co-operative enterprises and groups have banned
or restricted retailing of products containing CFCs. The
Finnish co-operative EKA group minimizes their use in its
refrigeration systems. 148/

B. Reduction in toxic chemicals and hazardous and radioactive
   wastes produced by manufacturing plants

    Consumer co-operative movements have taken action to reduce
production of toxic or hazardous industrial waste from plants
owned by them which process and manufacture goods which they
retail. 149/  In 1989 the German producer co-operative PWA
Waldhof received an environmental protection award for its
innovative work in the production of batteries.  By changing from
calcium-treatment to magnesium sulphate processing oxygen demand
was reduced and sulphur dioxide emissions were kept within the
permitted levels. 150/ In Sweden the manufacturing plants owned
by the wholesaling and retailing co-operative system Koopertiva
Forbundet make determined efforts to increase the environmental-
friendliness of the products they provide for distribution.  For
example, the Lumalampan plant manufactures Panda batteries which
do not contain mercury, and one of its subsidiaries, MRT, holds
the patent for a process to recover the mercury used in
fluorescent lighting. 151/ The refinery owned by Federated Co-
operatives Ltd., central supplier to 330 consumer co-operatives
in western Canada, had by 1992 already succeeded in recapturing
almost all its sulphur emissions and produced a diesel oil with
a lower sulphur content than others on the market. 152/

   One of the problems inherited from previously existing
parastatal "co-operative" systems in many developing market
economies by newly established private sector or genuine co-
operatives has been the situation caused by the lack of interest
by the former in environmental problems.  For example, in Zambia
the Zambia Co-operative Federation inherited more than 50 tons
of toxic chemical waste (mainly herbicides, fungicides and
insecticides) from the former parastatal National Agricultural
Marketing Board. Immediately after taking over the functions of
the Board the Federation removed all expired chemicals from its
depots throughout the country and transported them to a central
storage unit. After efforts to find a disposal site were
unsuccessful the Federation obtained funds from the Swedish
International Development Authority to buy plastic drums for
safer temporary storage until proper disposal facilities could
be developed. 153/ 

145/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 85, No. 4
     (1992), p. 146.
146/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 83, No. 2
     (1990), 94.
147/ Ibid., p. 89.
148/ ICA News, No. 3, 1992, p. 10.
149/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 85, No. 4
     (1992), p. 146.
150/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 83, No. 2
     (1990), p. 85.
151/ Ibid., p. 91.
152/ ICA News, No. 3, 1992, p. 14.
153/ Ibid., pp. 27-28.