EU challenge on chemicals: EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom takes on the powerful chemical industry with her proposals for EU legislation on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals.

Known as Reach, Wallstrom and Erkki Liikanen, the EU Enterprise Commissioner are preparing to submit draft legislation for approval by their EU colleagues. Chemicals constitute Europe's third-largest manufacturing industry, and Britain, France and Germany have already joined industry bodies in damning Reach as anti-competitive.

However, Wallstrom argues that it will give the chemical industry greater incentives for innovation, leading to added demand for new and safer products, reduced risk of liability lawsuits, improved reputation and a more predictable regulatory context. Currently over 30,000 chemicals used in the EU have never been subjected to any comprehensive testing for risk to humans and ecosystems. See also www.rcep.org.uk/chreport.html

Sustainable principles

Ethical business practises don't always have to be an add-on, moral obligation to allay guilty feelings about corporate greed, according to Paula Downey, a businesswoman working at the cutting edge of how companies can profit from following sustainable principles. Speaking to Horizons recently, she cited an inspiring example of how one international company completely upturned its business practises, resulting in increased profits and environmentally sound practises. The carpet-manufacturing company, Interface, changed its business from carpet sales to carpet leasing. Now, its customers pay for long-term leasing of carpets, which are then returned to Interface for recycling. (www.interfacesustainability.com) See also www.dya.ie

Irish identity

The Peopling of Ireland is the title of Archaeology Ireland's annual conference on Saturday next in the Industry Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield. Speakers will discuss the beginning of human settlement of Ireland and explore contentious issues such as whether the Celts ever actually arrived here and the complex web of cultural identities in medieval and post-medieval Ireland. Cost: 50. Booking on Tel: 01-2765221.

Antarctic exhibition

Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and highest continent. A month-long exhibition about

its unique environment and ecology opens in ENFO, 17 Andrew Street, Dublin, next week. Opening hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

Woodland management

Ecologists and foresters keen to participate in the Native Woodlands Scheme have another opportunity to learn more about this impressive native woodland conservation and management scheme at a free training course in Tullamore, Co Offaly, from November 10th-12th. To register, contact Kevin Collins. Tel: 01-6782154.