China’s New Environmental Actors

Understanding the roles of corporations, NGOs and prosecutors

Thursday, March 19, 2015, 2:00–5:00 p.m.
University of California, Irvine, LAW 3750 (Directions)

This workshop will combine three presentations about the regulation of environmental pollution in China. The presenters highlight important recent developments in the way pollution regulation functions in China, and demonstrate how actors such as corporations, NGOs and prosecutors have come to play important roles alongside China’s traditional administrative regulatory agencies to shape corporate environmental behavior. The panel will also discuss the conditions under which such plural forms of environmental governance can be successful in dealing with China’s serious pollution challenges.

This event is co-hosted by the John S. and Marilyn Long U.S.-China Institute for Business and Law and the Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources.

RSVP here by email.


Shui Yan Tang Political Commitment, Policy Uncertainty, and Corporate Environmental Management in China
By Shui Yan Tang
Abstract: Based on results from multiple surveys of corporations in Guangdong Province, the presentation will highlight how corporate environmental practices are affected by corporate executives’ perceptions of political commitment to environmental protection, policy uncertainty in regulatory requirements, and enforcement efforts of local officials.
Kathinka Fürst Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations as Regulators of Industrial Pollution in China: Roles, Strategies and Effects
By Kathinka Fürst
Abstract: In the last two decades China’s environmental authorities have adopted proactive approaches that allow civil non-state actors to act against pollution. Analyzing a near comprehensive set of data covering case studies of most of the Chinese eNGOs working in this field, this presentation will outline the different roles eNGOs in China are playing in regulation of industrial pollution, the strategies they have adopted and the effects of their actions.
Benjamin van Rooij Prosecutorial regulation in the Global South: Environmental civil litigation by prosecutors in China compared to Brazil
By Benjamin van Rooij
Abstract: Brazil’s successful prosecutorial civil action against polluters could be a regulatory example for the Global South. This paper analyses whether such regulation could also develop without the major political, institutional, and legal reforms that spurred it in Brazil. To do so, it analyzes China, where similar reforms have so far not occurred, but where prosecutors have recently started to initiate civil litigation against polluters. It finds that prosecutorial public interest litigation in China has had only limited regulatory value both now and in the near future. It highlights how the interaction between regulatory independence, legal reform, and regime type shapes possibilities for regulatory innovation in the Global South.