A China Daily (state-supported media) report asserts that the “western” media ignore the environmental impact of international business moving manufacturing to China. The story is on a think tank report from the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development (CCICED).
The report suggests that when trade between China and its partners exerts an environmental impact, the responsibility should be borne by all parties, including manufacturers, traders and consumers in the product chain.
For example, it has been alleged that China poses a threat to tropical forests by importing timber from Southeast Asian countries. But 70 per cent of the timber is made into furniture and exported to the United States and European Union countries.
China’s environmental impact on Southeast Asia is far more exaggerated than the economic benefits it brings to the region, the report noted.
“China has been playing its role as a global workshop in the past two decades,” said Shen Guofang, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and core expert of the CCICED. “We import the raw material, produce, send the products abroad and keep the waste and pollution ourselves.”
The Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia blog notes that the effect may be even worse than moving the pollution.
The West is basically sending its pollution to China and that benefits the West! But when you consider China’s huge energy inefficiency and serious poor implementation of environmental regulations, I fear the net impact is probably far worse.
Indeed, if businesses move manufacturing from a country with a strict set of environmental regulations to China, the motivation to be clean disappears, and the externalized cost to the environment increases.
It seems that this should be a major topic of concern for U.S. activists, who might exert pressure on U.S. businesses.
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