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BEST News
~June 2008~
Dear Friends,
I am pleased to present you with this first issue of the "BEST News" - a newsletter intended to keep you informed about our activities in lead battery certification and related stories on international standards. You will see that many exciting developments are helping us to promote the launch of the BEST Standard. Please let us know if you would like to share any news to be included in future issues.

Regards,
Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director

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BEST Certification Launched at 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi

Occupational Knowledge International (OK International) formally launched the BEST Standard 1001 for lead battery manufacturers at the 9th Auto Expo held in New Delhi from January 9-17, 2008.   The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) sponsored the autoexpobooth_jwk.jpgevent. OK International was provided with exhibit booth space by SIAM who has been very helpful in promoting the BEST Standard among their members. More than 1.8 million visitors attended the event with international participation from 29 countries.

OK International and the BEST Standard received significant media coverage with articles appearing several newspapers, including the Hindu Times, and in a television story run on CNN/IBN.  The story featured OK International and our Indian NGO and battery industry partners.  It is available on the web at:

www.ibnlive.com/videos/57714/are-you-leading-the-pollution-bandwagon.html


BEST Auditor Training Course Held in Bangalore

IMG_2593.v2.JPGOK International held the first BEST Auditor Training Course in Bangalore from March 24th-27th, 2008. The course covered the BEST Standard 1001 and provided the background on the health effects of lead, emissions controls, and occupational and environmental monitoring. The course was well attended with representatives from Certification Bodies, lead battery manufacturers and environmental consultants. All participants successfully completed the exam on the last day.

An international group of instructors contributed to the success of the program.  Instructors included Dr. Thuppil Venkatesh of NRCLPI, Mr. Anil Jauhri of QCI, and Drs. Sankar and Ayyappan of Sri Ramachandra Medical University, and Perry Gottesfeld and John Kephart from OK International.


OK Environment Announces Initial Board of Directors

OK Environment, a subsidiary of OK International, is charged with updating the BEST Standard 1001 on a three-year schedule and with overseeing the accreditation and performance of independent auditors. The Board of Directors of OK Environment is selected to represent all key stakeholders.  The selection of the Board is now complete and we are pleased to have such a distinguished membership from all relevant sectors.  The Board Members are assigned to serve either two or three year terms to allow for staggered turnover.  The members are listed below:

Members from the Lead Battery Industry: Yogesh Dhawan, CEO, TATA AutoComp GY Batteries; S. Vijayanand, Head Research & Engineering, Amara Raja. Members from Bulk Purchasers: A. Srinivas, Vice President, Sr. General Manager, Mahindra; Rakesh Baweja, Asst. Vice President, Fiat India. Members from NGOs: Chaya Chengappa, CHF International; Ravi Agarwal, Director,Toxics Link. Members of the Board of OK International: Rich Rinehart, Coordinator, U.S.NIOSH; Dave Eherts, Vice President of Aviation Safety, EHS and Medical, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director, OK International. 


TÜV Rheinland Accredited to Conduct BEST Certification Audits

The board of directors of OK Environment, OK International’s subsidiary responsible for auditor accreditation, has announced the accreditation of TUV Rheinland (India) Private Ltd. to conduct environmental audits under the BEST Standard 1001. TUV Rheinland is one of the largest international Certifying Bodies based in Germany with operations in 60 countries. TUV Rheinland with its Indian headquarters in Bangalore, has been conducting ISO 14001 certifications for Environmental Management Systems throughout the country since 2005. Their accreditation offers opportunities for battery companies to conduct ISO 14001 and BEST audits simultaneously with greater efficiency. We welcome their participation in the implementation of BEST.


BEST Featured in Vietnam Workshop on Eco-Labeling

ecolabelwork_jwk.jpgThe Vietnam Environmental Protection Agency (VEPA)  held a workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam on June 10, 2008 on  eco-labels, which featured the BEST certification. The  objective of the workshop was to introduce and share experiences of eco-labeling. Perry Gottesfeld was invited to make a presentation on the BEST certification and how it will benefit battery companies in Vietnam. The workshop also featured speakers from VEPA, the Vietnam Bureau of Standards, Centre for Environment and Community Development, and the Vietnam Productivity Centre. 


Quality Council of India Endorses BEST

In April 2008, the Quality Council of India (QCI) formally endorsed the BEST Certification for Indian companies.  Dr. Girdhar J. Gyani, Secretary General of QCI, graciously announced his support in a letter provided to OK International and our partners at the National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India (NRCLPI).

Dr. Gyani states in the letter that “QCI sees the urgent need to encourage voluntary industry incentives to adopt more sustainable practices for the manufacturing, collection and recycling of lead batteries. We therefore welcome the initiative of OK International, NRCPLI and DA to provide a certification and eco-labeling program for lead batteries in India.”

Although QCI has been involved in the development of the BEST Standard and helped with financial support for some of the workshops conducted last year, this was their first formal endorsement.  This is an important step in broadening the support of the BEST program, and we thank QCI and Mr. Gyani for this announcement.


BEST Introduced at Chinese Battery Conference

Perry Gottesfeld, Executive Director of OK International was invited to address the 8th China International Battery Fair held in Tianjin, China from June 23rd-27th, 2008. Mr. Gottesfeld gave a presentation on Better Environmental Sustainability Targets (BEST) Certification for Lead Battery Manufacturers.  He discussed the benefits of OK International’s BEST certification program to battery companies willing to address lead emissions and their overall environmental performance. He also discussed potential opportunities for this program to be applied to Chinese companies.


Perry Gottesfeld to Address UNEP's Forum on Chemical Safety

Perry Gottesfeld has been invited to speak at the UNEP’s 6th Session of Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) to be held in Dakar, Senegal from September 15-19, 2008. The IFCS process has been considering the implications of international trade involving lead and lead-containing products with consideration of possible international involvement in addressing resulting pollution and health impacts.  Mr. Gottesfeld will discuss the implications of changing foreign trade patterns in lead and lead batteries. He will share his research on how the growing international trade in lead batteries may impact national efforts to introduce extended producer responsibility initiatives to encourage battery collection. In addition, Mr. Gottesfeld will offer the BEST Standard as a model for addressing these issues in developing countries.


Dr. Vijaya Lakshimi of Development of Development Alternatives Receives Award

OK International’s partner, Dr. Vijaya Lakshimi of Development Alternative (DA) was the honored recipient of the National Award for Women’s Development through application of Science and Technology for 2007. Dr. Lakshimi was presented with the award by the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, at a ceremony in New Delhi.  This award recognizes the contributions of individuals/institutions who have worked at the grass roots level for women’s development through application of science and technology. Dr. Lakshimi has been an important partner in the development of the BEST Standard 1001.


US EPA Propses New Limits for Lead in Air

 For the first time in 30 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has proposed a new regulatory limit for lead concentrations in ambient air. This new limit was spurred by a lawsuit brought by the State of Missouri, which won a court ruling requiring that the agency complete the new rule by September 1, 2008. The proposed new standard will be between 0.1 and 0.3 ug/m3, or 1/5th to 1/15th of the old limit of 1.5 ug/m3. The proposed standard is available at: www.epa.gov/air/lead/. 

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