Multinationals blacklisted for pollution

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-27 06:34

Chinese joint ventures with global corporations such as Panasonic, Pepsi-Cola and Nestle are among 33 multinational companies that various levels of government have blacklisted for causing water pollution, according to a non-governmental organization.

The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs which has compiled a list of more than 2,700 serious polluters on its website at said, however, that pollution by domestic companies is even more severe.

Ma Jun, director of the institute, said he collated information released by environmental watchdogs during the past three years, but this is the first time such a list has been compiled.

"I was very surprised to see well-known names in global business listed as water polluters in China," Ma said.

Some of the companies listed are joint ventures with the world's top 500 corporations.

Panasonic Battery (Shanghai) Co Ltd was named by the local environmental protection bureau in June this year and also last year for releasing wastewater not sufficiently treated.

Pepsi-Cola International (Changchun) Co Ltd was criticized for a similar reason in 2005.

Nestle Sources Shanghai Ltd's bottled water manufacturing plant also made the list for starting operation before its wastewater treatment facilities had passed an environmental impact assessment.

"These are only some of the water pollution violations committed by multinational companies in China, since our website has yet to cover information about air and solid waste pollution," Ma said.

"The parent companies in their home countries are models for environmental protection. But they have slackened their efforts in China."

Ma blamed the companies' pursuit of profits but also said China's weak law enforcement and public supervision left loopholes that invite violations.

This is the first time the public has come to know the companies are violators, he said, because official websites contained only sporadic information about polluters.

However, when Southern Weekend, a Guangzhou-based newspaper, checked with those companies, most of them reportedly justified the violations as "accidents," "oversight" or "having no alternatives."