Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Responsible China": CSR round-up for China

This blog was never intended to be China-centric but as is the way of the world, when people think of the impact of globalisation on the environment, China is in the front line both in terms or absolute levels of emissions and in terms of feeling the impact of climate change and the affects of pollution on the population.

One blog that specifically deals with Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR) in China is "ResponsibleChina". The blog's daily roundup of CSR and environmental stories is useful (and I am sure will become the source of some posts on here). Certainly a blog worth sticking in a reader and has been put into our blogroll in the sidebar.

Some example links from today's roundup and one earlier post (FT) that touch on topics often discussed in this blog include:

Chinese local government ignoring national green agenda[edie news centre]
"The central government is committed to achieving the (green) targets but some local governments have turned a blind eye to them," He Bingguang, NDRC deputy director, told China Daily.

According to Mr He, some local governments had been giving preferential treatment to steel, cement and other high energy consuming and polluting industries despite the top leadership's repeated warning that "they are overheated and should be brought under control".

China cancels environmental report[LA Times]
BEIJING — From a public relations standpoint, it didn't look good. In the space of less than a month, China had quashed two potentially embarrassing environmental reports that would have said what most people already know: This is a country facing a costly and increasingly deadly environmental crisis.

First, in early July, reports surfaced that China had successfully lobbied the World Bank to redact portions of an environmental assessment that calculated how many people were likely to die prematurely as a result of air pollution.

Then, late last week, the government announced that it was canceling plans to publish a "green GDP" report that would have calculated the cost of pollution to China's rapidly growing economy, as measured by its gross domestic product.

Despite relatively strong laws, enforcement of China's environmental policies is patchy at best, largely left to provincial governments that have a stake in local economic growth, regardless of the environmental cost. And it is those officials, some experts believe, who may have put the brakes on the recent reports.

Green vs growth battle in Beijing[The Austrailian]
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development a week ago released a report on China concluding that "rapid economic development, industrialisation and urbanisation have generated severe and growing pressures on the environment, resulting in significant damage to human health and depletion of natural resources".

Wang Jin-nan, the technical head of the project to develop a green GDP, from the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning, told Beijing News that there had been fierce opposition from local officials eager to maintain high growth figures.

Taking the waters[Financial Times]
Across large swaths of China's rapidly industrialising countryside, polluted water is killing tens of thousands of people every year, threatening the health of millions more and cutting the crop yields of farmers who have few other economic resources to fall back on.

The scale of the problem has been thrown into sharp relief in recent weeks as authorities turn off the taps of whole cities because of a spate of toxic blue-green algae blooms and chemical spills. In a toughly-worded warning this month, Pan Yue, deputy head of the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa), said China's "approach of growth through industrialisation" had pushed its environment "close to breaking point".

Mr Pan said 26 per cent of the water in China's seven biggest river systems had been found to be so polluted that it was dangerous to come into contact with or had "lost the capacity for basic ecological function". Sepa also deems seven of nine big monitored lakes polluted to such levels. Water quality is deteriorating even in areas subject to well-funded government clean-ups over the last decade, it warns.

The scandals and the prospect of a worsening crisis have prompted expressions of concern at the highest levels: Wen Jiabao, the premier, has called for the management of fresh water supplies to be treated as a priority "state project". Sepa itself appears determined to seize the moment to push for tougher enforcement of China's existing environmental regulations. This month it announced that it would not issue approvals for new industrial projects in six -cities, two counties and five industrial zones until authorities there cracked down on local companies found to be in violation of water protection rules.



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ResponsibleChina said...

Thank you for the shout-out! I will have to check your site frequently, too, to keep up with all the latest news about globalization and China.

If anyone has any tips for me, please feel free to contact me: erica [at]