Consumers in region ‘becoming aware of environmental issues’

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Updated 11 May 2016
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Consumers in region ‘becoming aware of environmental issues’

STOCKHOLM: More brands are now choosing responsibly sourced Tetra Pak packages with the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) label in the greater Mideast and Africa region, according to top executives.
Tetra Pak has reported a rise in the number of companies in the region selling products in Tetra Pak packages that carry the FSC label, they told a group of journalists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey visiting Tetra Pak's facilities in Sweden.
The company boosted the deployment rate of FSC-labeled packages in the region from 2.2 percent to 6.7 percent last year as manufacturers start to meet consumer demand for sustainable packaging.
Abdullah Hassan, Tetra Pak's communication manager for Arabia area, said: “Consumers in the region are gradually becoming aware of environmental issues."
He added: "Companies need a clear label on their package to communicate their commitment to the environment in a straight-forward way, and we are happy to support our customers with responsible sourcing and labeling. The FSC logo is widely recognized by consumers, enabling them to choose brands that are driving sustainable forestry."
“Our customers in South Africa, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were among the first in the region to deploy FSC-labeled packages,” the manager said.
He said Tetra Pak's factories and market companies in the Greater Middle East and Africa region are all certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
By 2015, Tetra Pak had deployed around 1.9 billion packs of FSC certified packages in GME&A.
FSC, founded in 1994 by a group of non-governmental organizations, timber users and traders, is widely recognized as the highest global certification standard for forest management.
For a product to carry the FSC label, there must be an unbroken chain of custody certification for all relevant sites.
Tetra Pak has completed the certification for all converting plants and market companies and can supply FSC-labeled packages from anywhere in the world, including all sites in the Greater Middle East and Africa region.
Driving environment excellence is one of Tetra Pak’s strategic priorities.
As part of this agenda, the long term ambition is to deliver all packages with the FSC label.
The company has delivered 54 billion FSC-labelled packages to its customers globally in 2015 alone.
Tetra Pak is the world's leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Working closely with our customers and suppliers,
Tetra Pak provides safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 170 countries around the world.
With more than 23,000 employees based in over 80 countries, Tetra Pak believes in responsible industry leadership and a sustainable approach to business.


Iran sanctions shadow falls on smaller German banks

Updated 27 May 2018
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Iran sanctions shadow falls on smaller German banks

  • Some German companies plan to press on with Iran dealings
  • German exports to Iran rose 15.5 percent last year

Germany’s biggest lenders have shied away from business with Iran after past penalties for breaching US sanctions, but smaller banks have leapt on opportunities afforded by the nuclear deal rejected by Donald Trump.

There are just months to go until a November deadline issued by Washington after the US president abandoned a hard-fought agreement that loosened business restrictions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for Tehran giving up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But some firms plan to press on in their dealings with Iran despite the looming threat of penalties.

“We will continue to serve our clients,” for now, said Patrizia Melfi, a director at the “international competence center” (KCI) founded by six cooperative savings banks in the small town of Tuttlingen in southwest Germany.

The center, which supports companies operating in sensitive markets like Iran or Sudan, has seen demand “rising sharply in the last few years, from firms listed on the Dax (Germany’s index of blue-chip firms), from all over Germany and from Switzerland,” she added.

German exports to Iran have grown since the nuclear deal was signed in 2015, adding 15.5 percent last year to reach almost €2.6 billion ($3.0 billion) after 22-percent growth in 2016.

Such figures remain vanishingly small compared with Germany’s €111.5 billion in exports to the US — its top customer.

Nevertheless, the KCI will “wait and see what the sanctions look like” before turning away from Iran, Melfi said.

Already, firms dealing with Tehran must take great care not to fall foul of US restrictions.

Transactions are carried out in euros, and the KCI does not deal with businesses that have American citizens or green card resident holders on their boards.

What’s more, products sold to Iran cannot contain more than 10 percent of parts manufactured in the US.

One of the most important inputs for the business is “courage among our managers” given the high risks involved, Melfi said.

Germany’s two biggest banks, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, avoid Iran completely after being slapped with harsh fines in 2015 over their dealings there, with Deutsche alone paying $258 million in penalties.

DZ Bank, which operates as a central bank for more than 1,000 local co-op lenders, is withdrawing completely from payment services there, a spokesman told AFP.
That left KCI to seek out the German branch of Iranian state-owned bank Melli in Hamburg.

Even that linkage could break if Iran’s biggest business bank appears on a US list of barred businesses as it has before.

Meanwhile, among Germany’s roughly 390 Sparkasse savings banks, business with the regime is mostly limited to producing documents linked to export contracts.
“We will be looking even more closely at those” in the future, a person familiar with the trade told AFP.

Elsewhere in the German economy, the European-Iranian Trade Bank (EIH) founded in 1971 is another conduit to Tehran.

Also based in Hamburg, it for now remains “fully available to you with our products and services,” the bank assures clients on its website, although “business policy decisions by European banks may result in short term or medium term restrictions on payments.”

Neither does the Bundesbank (German central bank) believe that much has so far changed for business with Iran.

“Only the European Union’s sanctions regime will be decisive,” if and when it is changed, the institution told AFP.

Any payment involving an Iranian party would have to be approved by the Bundesbank if things return to their pre-January 2016 state.

German banking lobby group Kreditwirtschaft has called on Berlin and other EU nations to clarify their stance — and to make sure banks and their clients are “effectively protected against possible American sanctions.”

KCI’s Melfi said time is running out for EU governments to act.

“Many firms just want to stop anything with Iran, since they can’t calculate the risk of staying,” she noted.

On Friday for the first time since the Iran nuclear deal came into force in 2015, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany gathered in Vienna — at Iran’s request — without the US, to discuss how to save the agreement.

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