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January , 2008
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Global green certification for lead battery manufacturers unveiled at Auto Expo

Source: Toxics Link, Date: January , 2008

Occupational Knowledge International (OK International) launched the Better Environmental Sustainability Targets (BEST) certification for lead battery manufacturers at the recent Auto Expo in New Delhi.

Under the program, lead battery manufacturing facilities that implement a collection program and meet minimum emission standards for used batteries will be eligible to place the eco-label on their products.

The BEST certification standard was developed through a two-year multi-stakeholder process organized by OK International of San Francisco, Development Alternatives of New Delhi and the National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India in Bangalore.

Major battery manufacturers and automotive firms including Hero Honda, Tata Motors, developed the standard along with Indian government representatives. The Standard was formally adopted by all participants at a board meeting in Bangalore in November 2007, according to a release by the organisation.

The program was adjudged as one of the world's top 12 projects for sustainable development by the SEEDs Award -- Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development -- sponsored by the United Nations Environment and Development Programs.

It is the first voluntary certification effort developed by a consensus of the industry and environmental organisations for manufacturing an industrial product while protecting public health and the environment.

Gottesfeld, who founded OK International in 1999 to promote innovative strategies to reduce exposures to lead and other hazardous materials in the developing world, said, "This is a great success demonstrating that all stakeholders working in partnership with the battery industry can bring about real improvements."

Funding to launch this process came from the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Deshpande Foundation, the Quality Council of India, and private foundations.

It is anticipated that the first companies in India will be eligible for certification during 2008. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 120 million people are over exposed to lead -- three times the number infected by HIV/AIDS --and that 99 percent of the most severely affected are in developing countries. Batteries account for more than 80 per cent all lead production.

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