This paper presents a critical analysis of the document that is titled “Corporate Environmental Policy Statements in Mainland China: To What Extent Do They Conform to ISO 14000 Documentation?”. The paper seeks to explore the extent to which industries in China implement issues of environment management as exemplified in the codes of environmental management.
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China is one of the countries that are recording a high pace of industrial development, yet it often comes out in the headlines as a country that does not pay attention to environmental management. The assessment of environmental sustainability standards in China is, therefore, measured against ISO 14000, which is one of the critical codes of environmental sustainability.
A critical analysis is done on the scope of issues of sustainability in China as it is explained in the article. The analysis brings out the objectives of the research and the methods that are used for exploring issues of sustainable development in China. The paper pays attention to the sustainability standards that are used as a basis for judging the rate of compliance to ISO 14000 by Chinese firms.
The research methods used in the paper are restrictive in the sense that they seem to embrace conclusive results, which hinders the exploration of the adaptive level of Chinese firms to ISO 14000. The conclusion arrived at is that Chinese companies are fond of seeking for the fulfillment of minimum requirements for ISO satisfaction, yet they do not go ahead to enforce the standards that are stipulated in the codes.
Sustainability standards are increasingly incorporated in systems of corporate governance. This paper presents a critique of one of the articles that expound on the level at which corporate governance policies in mainland China reflect the international sustainable standardizations, particularly the ISO 14000.
The article is titled “Corporate Environmental Policy Statements in Mainland China: To What Extent Do They Conform to ISO 14000 Documentation?” In the review, the paper focuses on two main areas: the scope of the article and the research methods used.
Discussion of Article (scope/content)
China, which is a country that has attained a rapid pace of industrialization, has been in the limelight for having a poor system of waste disposal. This emanates from the lack of effective policies to enhance waste management and the prevention of pollution.
In their study, Chung, Fryxell and Carlos (2005) sought to explore the policy statement on the environment of a total of 106 certified plants in mainland China against the link with the environmental requirements of the environmental standardizations rules: ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 in relation to the enforcement of ISO 14000.
Owing to the prevailing state of environment management in China, it is important to establish the pace and intensity with which the sustainability standardization codes are being enforced, especially in a country like China that is quite highly aggressive in terms of establishment of industries.
The paper goes deep into exploring the tangible aspects in as far as the implementation of the sustainability standardizations is concerned. The rationale behind this is that one of the impediments in environmental management and the embrace of sustainability is that most firms ensure that they fulfill the requirements of satisfaction and registration, but they stop at that.
They do not embrace the implementation of the standardizations, which inhibits the attainment of the goals of environment management. The continual improvement is a critical factor in ensuring the effective of environment management systems (Northern Ireland Environment System, 2009).
The paper bases on other standardizations ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 to explore the commitment of the plants on enforcing ISO 14000. While this broadens the scope of the results, it depicts some aspects of weakness. The conclusion that points out that adherence to ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 justifies the application of ISO 14000 is, therefore, not desirable.
This is a mere extrapolation of results since there is a variation between the diverse sustainability standards. The justification of one sustainability standard by using other standards results in a summative assumption. Using such an assumption to develop results and conclusions drives away the aspect of exploring the main goal of the research.
Objective of the article
The article is one of the most incisive steps that seek to establish the gaps that prevail in China’s system of environmental management. The ultimate goal of the researchers is to establish the level at which plants in mainland China adhere to ISO 14000.
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These standardizations are the key tools that can define the level at which China, which is an emerging economic giant in the world, responds to the concepts of environmental management and sustainability.
Environmental policy statement is a critical element in the adoption of environment sustainability standards. Relating the policy statement to the sustainability standards as has been done in the paper, therefore, aids in bringing out the underlying issues.
Evaluation of Research Methods
The paper uses both qualitative and quantitative methods. However, there seems to be a high level of dependency on secondary data. The paper uses two standards as the dependent variables and the main standard that is being investigated as an independent variable. The number of sampled plants is quite convincing, considering the fact that there are a lot companies in mainland China.
The amount of literature carried in the paper also reflects most of the issues of managing the environmental systems in China. However, the data collection method used in the research, postal questionnaires conducted in 2002, is not convincing. The information in the questionnaires cannot be used as a basis for concluding on the environmental management codes in the companies.
It implies secondary information was used, which cannot be relied upon in in delivering an up to date content. Secondary information bars researchers from exploring the emergent issues in China. By using ISO 14001 and ISO 14004 as standards as dependent variables, the researchers come up with a general assumption about the application of ISO 14000 standards.
The research holds an assumption that adherence to certain standards translates into application and enforcement of other standards. This can be misleading since it results in the ignorance of certain critical aspects of sustainability that are embedded in the main standard being investigated.
The article is quite comprehensive. The article takes an exploratory approach in unearthing the practices of sustainability in Chinese firms. According to the paper, the level at which firms in China deploy practices of environmental standards is not desirable. There is a tendency that only firms that work at that their environmental management systems qualify as per the international environmental standardization.
Chung, S., Fryxell, G., & Carlos, W. (2005). Corporate environmental management policy statements in Mainland China: To what extent do they conform to ISO 14000 documentation? Environmental Management, 35(4), 468-482.
Northern Ireland Environment System. (2009). Measuring the effectiveness of Environmental Management Systems. Web.