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Primark's move to launch chemical-free kids' clothes

British retail giant Primark has joined the growing number of brands committing to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its supply chain as part of Greenpeace's global Detox campaign.

Primark joins Burberry to become the second clothing company to sign a detox commitment in the past two weeks. This news follows the release of Greenpeace's latest report revealing the presence of hazardous chemicals in children's clothes made by 12 major brands.

"Primark's commitment shows that it refuses to be left behind as toxic-free clothing becomes a fashion trend in the industry. From budget retailers like Primark, to luxury houses like Burberry, brands are helping put an end to this toxic nightmare. Laggards like adidas and Disney need to act now to stop these hazardous little monsters once and for all," said Ilze Smit, detox campaigner at Greenpeace International.

Primark has agreed to eliminate hazardous chemicals in all its products and across its production processes by 2020. It will also require manufacturing facilities to upload data on hazardous chemical discharges through a publicly accessible platform. This will give people living near these facilities in manufacturing centres like China the right to know what is being discharged into their environment.

"This commitment is great news for Primark's customers, its workers and the local communities affected by toxic-water pollution," said Smit.

Greenpeace is now urging Primark to resolve outstanding social issues related to the well-being of workers on its products.

Prestigious awards from appliance maker Electrolux

Electrolux has been admitted to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for 2013, maintaining its position as industry leader in the household durables category for the seventh consecutive year.

Frank Belfrage, state secretary of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other Swedish embassy and business representatives presented a recognition certificate to Electrolux Thailand general manager, Sutti Manokitjarunman.

Launched in 1999, the DJSI was the first global index to track financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. It analyses corporate, economic, environmental and social best practices and how they impact and address issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change, supply chain standards, and labour management.

Varsity, firm make breakthrough in hydrogen cell technology

REC, a leading global supplier of solar energy solutions, is joining forces with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to develop an improved hydrogen passivation process that was first discovered at UNSW.

Standard multi-crystalline silicon cells currently have a maximum efficiency of around 17.5 percent-18 percent. Professor Stuart Wenham said the new technique, patented by his UNSW team, is expected to produce efficiencies of between 19 per cent and 20 per cent once fully developed.

Oyvind Hasaas, REC president, said "REC has a long history in silicon wafer and cell manufacturing. By combining UNSW's breakthrough technology with our strong background knowledge of multicrystalline silicon wafers and solar cells, we expect to be able to speed up the development of this new technology."

As a world record holder in silicon solar cell efficiency, UNSW is a strong partner. Professor Wenham says his team has worked out how to control the charge state of hydrogen atoms in silicon, thereby increasing the ability to generate electricity, something other research teams have previously not been able to do.

"We have seen a 10,000 times improvement in the mobility of the hydrogen and we can control it to chemically bond with defects and contaminants, making these inactive," he said. This improves the quality of the silicon, which in turn translates into higher cell efficiency.

This breakthrough technology was internationally recognised when Professor Wenham was awarded the A F Harvey engineering research prize from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in London.

Esso celebrates with support for Thai Red Cross

Esso has now been in Thailand for 120 years. To mark the anniversary it has donated funds to support health improvement projects of the Thai Red Cross Society.

Mongkolnimit Auacherdkul, director and manager of public and government affairs, Esso (Thailand), presented a cheque for Bt3.11 million to the Thai Red Cross Society to support health projects including a malaria community clinic at the Thai border, a blood van and medical equipment for the Bhumisirimangkalanusorn building at Chulalongkorn Hospital.

Hua Hin resort praised for green programme

V Villas Hua Hin received the "ASEAN Green Hotel Award 2014" for its ecologically sound business practices.

The hotel is one of only ten hotels in Thailand to receive this award.

Chainarong Pipitveeranund, resident manager of V Villas Hua Hin, accepted the award at a ceremony in Malaysia.

The ASEAN Green Hotel Standard is one of the six tourism standards that the member states consider helps Asean on its way to being a quality single destination.

An Asean green hotel is environmentally friendly and adopts energy conservation measures.

V Villas has met these requirements and is proud to serve its guests with facilities that are safe and aimed toward sustaining the planet.


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