The Green Supply Chain Challenge—On-The-Ground Stories from China
China is the undisputed factory for the world—dominating global trade in clothes and kitchen products as well as electronics, clean energy and manufacturing technologies. The unchecked industrial export boom that fueled China’s growth over 40+ years has also left the country with enormous pollution and environmental health problems. Speakers at this November 1st CEF meeting will discuss the challenges of greening the supply chain between Chinese companies and western consumers. Two frontline journalists and the Deputy Director of the NRDC’s Health and Environment Program will talk about industrial pollution trends in China and new opportunities for greening three different supply chains—rare earths, Teflon, and textiles.
Liu Hongqiao visited mines and factories around China to investigate pollution and environmental degradation caused by rare earth metals extraction. She will discuss how the poor regulation of these highly toxic metals—which are central for building wind and solar energy technologies—have led to serious soil and water contamination. Sharon Lerner will talk about how the rise of China’s production of perfluorooctanoic acid (used in Teflon and other products) reflects the global migration of toxic chemicals. As the West scales down chemical-intensive production due to growing environmental concerns and regulatory pressure, companies in China and other labor intensive developing countries often become the convenient production destination. Encouragingly, there are some signs of improved regulation of this supply chain. Susan Egan Kean will highlight NRDC’s Clean by Design program, a supply chain initiative that leverages the purchasing power of multinational corporations to reduce their environmental impacts abroad. Working with a number of prominent global apparel retailers and brands, Clean by Design is reducing the environmental footprint of textile mills with a business-friendly model that focuses on increasing production efficiencies and developing strong supply chain policies.
photo credit: Huffington Post
China Environment Forum
Since 1997, the China Environment Forum's mission has been to forge U.S.-China cooperation on energy, environment, and sustainable development challenges. We play a unique nonpartisan role in creating multi-stakeholder dialogues around these issues. Read more