Stricter controls on pest control products

“Biocides” – ranging from rat poisons to wood preservatives – will be subject to tougher safety checks, following a European Parliament vote on Thursday, January 17, 2012. The updated rules aim to better protect human health and the environment, while streamlining the marketing approval process.

Council, which has already provisionally agreed to the new legislation, must give a formal green light for it to enter into force.


The updated legislation closes a loophole so that treated products – such as furniture sprayed with fungicide or anti-bacterial kitchen worktops – will be included under the rules and labelled. Agricultural pesticides will continue to be covered by other EU legislation.

Restricting harmful substances

The most problematic substances – such as those that are carcinogenic, affect genes or hormones or are toxic to reproduction – should in principle be banned. Exceptions should only be made in Member States where strictly necessary, for example if a biocide is needed to safeguard against a specific danger to health. Approvals and renewals will be time-limited, while safer alternatives are developed.

Concerned about possible risks of nanotechnology, MEPs secured separate safety checks and labelling for products containing nano-sized materials.

Opening up the market

The new legislation further harmonises the EU market for biocidal products and sets deadlines for applications to be assessed. The recognition of approvals among Member States will be improved and the possibility to apply for authorisation at EU level will be phased in from 2013, becoming possible for most biocidal products by 2020.


Building for vertical garden cities

Some of their structures remind us of bold visions of the future, in which plants reclaim nature for themselves. WOHA realize the permeation of buildings and landscape, of interiors and exteriors in projects such as the Singapore School of the Arts and the seminal residential high-rise “The Met” in Bangkok, which received the International Highrise Award 2010.

WOHA is represented by Richard Hassell and Mun Summ Wong as directors of the architectural office based in Singapore. They made their name in Asia in the late 1990s with open, single-family dwellings suitable for the tropics. Today they mainly design high-rises and large structures: a mega residential park in India, office and hotel towers in Singapore that lend a new, vertical dimension to green landscapes. Air-conditioning is merely an additional feature for these open structures, because the building structure itself provides the cooling. Natural lighting is standard, solar modules harvest energy for use in the buildings; water for domestic purposes and rainwater are reused.

Topics such as creating value added through communal areas and permeability for climate and nature will be presented in WOHA’s first monographic exhibition using examples of open tropical family homes, green high-rises and projects still in the completion phase. The exhibition showcases 19 of WOHA’s most important projects in digital images and models, project texts, large-format photos and plans.


WOHA – Breathing Architecture
2 December 2011 – 29 April 2012 at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), Frankfurt am Main

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Charity at the cash desk

Traditionally, the Christmas season is the popular time of the year for charity. It is therefore quite remarkable that German trading companies will start their charity project after the festive season in March 2012. Charity always contains profound marketing aspects, but this project is much more than just clever marketing – it’s long-term and transparent.

It’s brand new in Germany and it’s a splendid idea – not just for marketing purposes: Several German trading companies team up to support social projects. Their motto is “Small change. Great impact.“, which means that customers of the participating companies can round up the invoiced amount by up to ten Euro-Cent. These extra Cents will then be used as a contribution to solving some of the most urging social problems in Germany, as for instance child poverty, juvenile violence or equal opportunities. The project starts on 1 March 2012 and participation is by all means voluntary for the customers. So far trading companies from the food, clothing, sports and DIY-industry have agreed to team up for the project. The idea for “Small change. Great impact.” was floated by the foundation of “Germany rounds up”. Together with a group of independent experts the foundation’s board of trustees will decide which social project shall receive the money. The board’s decision will be publicly announced on the foundation’s website Companies, who wish to become a partner and participate in the initiative, can easily join by just filling in a small form on the website.

3 questions to: John Herbert

John Herbert is the General Secretary of the European Retail Association, EDRA, the international organization representing home improvement retailers across the globe. With contact to almost every home centre worldwide EDRA has its finger on the pulse of current developments, best practices and the latest home improvement trends.

John Herbert, how important is the garden market for home centres worldwide today?
Herbert: The home centres in our EDRA operating in 50 countries represent total sales of more than 120 Billion Euro. The garden market has a share of 22 % including plants. That is no doubt very important.

Why should your members come to Cologne to visit spoga+gafa?
Herbert: Because there is no better place to be to do garden business. There is no other place with such a huge range of merchandize in one lot. You can find the cheapest but also the best products. The fair is absolutely attractive to the industry. It’s definitely a “must go”!

How about plants on spoga+gafa?
Herbert: As a lot of visitors are coming all over Europe to the spoga+gafa trade fair it could be advantageous for plant suppliers to be at the fair and it will give the spoga+gafa more of a feel as a garden trade fair.

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Metin Ergül leaves Koelnmesse

Metin Ergül, Head of Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse, is going to leave the enterprise by the end of March 2012. He will take up new employment as director of an enterprise in the health care industry.

Ergül has been employed with Koelnmesse since 2006. During the past years he successfully developed the trade fairs in the field of home, garden and leisure industries, for instance the spoga+gafa, the spoga+gafa horse, the Cologne Marathon Expo, the international hardware trade fair, the Asia Pacific Sourcing and the China International Hardware Show abroad. Until a successor has been nominated, Koelnmesse-director Katharina C. Hamma takes over his responsibilities.