China’s Environmental Commitment: Signaling Sustainable Consumption through Green Regulations

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Palm oil plantation. Photo by: Sawit Fest 2021 / Hendra A Setyawan

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – China has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to achieving environmental and sustainable development. This initiative aligns globally with the prevailing trend, recognizing environmental protection as a crucial aspect requiring institutional restructuring and rigorous regulatory implementation.

During the 2018 Protection Conference, President Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of environmental protection. He also acknowledged the necessity for institutional innovation to actualize sustainable industries. This commitment encompasses initiatives outlined in China’s Fourteenth Plan (2021-2025), which emphasizes green trade, provides guidelines for the green development of foreign investments, and sets a double carbon target.

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As quoted from Forest Digest, some government’s institutions, including Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Environment in China launched guidelines to encourage sustainability principles in foreign investment and cooperation. Besides, China targeted the 2060 carbon neutral, the peak carbon emission in 2030, and stopped coal power plant abroad.

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Green Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) would be the way to minimize negative impacts from every economic activity to the environment by delivering facilitation of environmental integration and realize sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the countries that connect by trade hub to China.

But as same as the green initiative, the challenges, such as, greenwashing practices appeared. Advertisement industries become the focus with the increasing needs on close regulation. Though there is no special regulation to solve greenwashing, China did regulate the same action through advertisement regulation, consumers’ protection, brands, and anti-unhealthy competition.

In financial sector, greenwashing would be the serious notice. Though there is no guidelines in national scale, China Regulation Commission of Banks and Insurance proposed guidelines to develop environmental finance in 2021. This was about to confirm that financial institution would have the assessment system and close risk control.

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The Government of China also used regulation approach through Administration Market Regulation to deal with fake advertisement and unhealthy competition. Though there are some cases of law enforcement that may misinterpret the concept of ‘environmental protection’, the Constitutional Court of China published special guidelines about carbon emission to deliver further direction.

Sustainable development in China was also reflected by having the mainstream of four main flows of development. They covered sustainable development, gender, social and cultural capital, and digitally transformation. These are about to confirm that the development would be equal and fair by noticing environmental conservation, and adaptation to climate changes.

These progresses showed that China is heading to be more sustainable, with the focus on environmental protection, close regulations, and innovations in many sectors. (T2)

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