Talk about pollution with your China vendors

What people are saying about the EAC blog:

“After much searching I came across your blog and found it to be full
of valuable info.”
– from a start up Mompreneur in Canada

Pollution in China is a serious problem as everyone found out last year when Beijing’s unhealthy levels of air pollution made headlines around the world. When I lived in China in the 1990s pollution was a problem but on one really cared (if they even noticed). Had I raised the issue of pollution with a vendor then, I would have been perceived as bourgeois and vendors would have ignored me. Whether a vendor had systems in place for clean discharge of waste was a subject that never came up for discussion. Even as recent as five years ago one sensed that pollution was not a concern for vendors.

Things have changed. Under the new leadership of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, China is finally addressing the problem of environmental pollution. In the past week Premier Li’s cabinet has approved a series of 10 measures aimed to combat air pollution and just yesterday China’s Supreme Court expanded the authority for local officials to crack down hard on polluters. Pollution is now serious business in China. If your factory pollutes it will very likely be shut down.

When you visit your vendors in China pollution is definitely one thing you want to discuss with them. You want to ask them if they are compliant with local environmental laws and ask them to show you how they are compliant. Even if you have been doing business in China for some time with the same factory, and have never raised the issue you should raise it now. Vendors know about the new laws and if you know about those to they will respect you and you will lessen the risk that a factory will be shut down right in the middle of your production. And this will happen. When Beijing was experiencing dangerous air pollution this past winter, over 100 factories were shut down.

China is different nowadays. You can discuss pollution with your vendor.

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