Embracing Green in China ... with an NGO Nudge

To date, more than 200 corporate giants have explained to the seven-person Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs why their manufacturing facilities or suppliers in China violated the country’s air and water laws. At least 50 companies have taken corrective actions and agreed to IPE-supervised environmental audits of their factories. Here’s why supply chain managers need to pay attention to influential little watchdogs like IPE.
image

March 06, 2012 - SCMR Editorial
Download Article PDF

Apple. Motorola. Pepsi. HP. Timberland. Walmart. These are among the thousands of global corporations that a small Beijing-based nonprofit organization has exposed as sourcing from polluting factories in China over the last six years. The nonprofit — the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE) — has surprising clout. To date, more than 200 corporate giants have explained to IPE offcials why their manufacturing facilities or suppliers in China were in violation of the country’s air and water laws. To get off IPE’s “blacklist,” at least 50 companies have taken corrective actions and agreed to IPE-supervised environmental audits of their factories. A growing number of those companies are now using IPE’s Web site as a tool to screen and monitor their Chinese suppliers’ environmental performance.

That’s not bad for a homegrown seven-man operation working out of a modest office in a converted sixth-floor Beijing apartment. By taking advantage of greater environmental transparency in China and global corporations’ desire to protect their reputations, IPE has become one of the country’s leading environmental watchdogs, powerful enough to spur some multinationals to pay more attention to their Chinese suppliers’ environmental records and to lean on offending suppliers to fix problems.

Not surprisingly, some companies see the little NGO (non-governmental organization) as a nuisance, ignoring its notifications of suppliers’ environmental infractions for as long as possible. Apple, for instance, paid no heed to IPE’s entreaties for months until embarrassing headlines, such as “Apple Attacked over Pollution in China,” in August 2011, scandalized newswires. But far-sighted companies such as Walmart and Nike are embracing IPE as a partner in improving their environmental management of their Chinese supply chains. “The IPE Web site provides a really good platform for us to reduce the risk of environmental violations,” says May Qiu, Nike’s health, safety, and environment manager for Asia.

SUBSCRIBERS: Click here to download PDF of the full article.


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

In recent days, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have been working on bills that each have the intention of keeping the HTF afloat, but, unsurprisingly, neither calls for what would appear to be the easiest way of doing so, which is the simply raise the tax.

Carload volumes were up 9.4 percent annually at 270,731, and intermodal was up 10.5 percent at 227,097 containers and trailers.

The BTS said that the May Freight TSI at 120.0 is the new all-time high level, topping November 2013’s 119.4, which was set before the harsh winter weather kicked in. BTS said that after falling to 94.6 in April 2009, the Freight TSI increased a cumulative 26.9 percent in the following 61 months.

At issue in Southern California is what truckers maintain are unfair labor practices — being treated as independent contractors rather than employees.

Maersk and MSC have signed a 10-year contract deal to share vessels on some of the world's busiest trade routes.

Article Topics

· Global · Green · Sourcing · MarchApril 2012 · China · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.