China environmental protection authority and courts getting tough on industrial polluters

Last week China’s environmental protection authority invited public comments on four draft ordinances on enforcement of environmental protection regulations. The proposals include:

  • if an enterprise illegally discharges pollutants and fails to correct its wrongdoing after being asked to do so by authorities, it may face fines which accumulates daily. In the past, enterprises received a one-off fine.
  • new rules regarding evidence collection, approval, decision and enforcement of the punishment and lifting of the penalties.

These follow the announcement in July that the Supreme Court of the People is setting up a division for environmental cases. The Supreme Court stated that the new tribunal can set the standards for trials of environment cases, better protect people’s environmental rights and help fight pollution and other offenses harming the environment.

Details are at http://en.chinacourt.org/public/detail.php?id=4896  and http://en.chinacourt.org/public/detail.php?id=4882

China’s increasing push for tougher environmental regulations and enforcement makes it more likely that polluting factories producing products for the North American market will be identified and that the brands which they make will be identified in news stories. To minimize the risk of such disclosures GallonDaily suggests that brandowners importing products from China, and from other parts of Asia, step up efforts to ensure that manufacturing plants are in compliance at least with local environmental laws and with internationally recognized standards of corporate social responsibility, such as those described in international standard ISO 26000.

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