Zhou Jinfeng: The High Price of Pork Is Not the Fault of the Environmental Protection Department! On the Contrary (II)
2019/9/13 22:14:00 本站

Therefore, what is the relationship between environmental law and enterprises, as well as the relationship between environmental law and social organizations? Only by giving full play to the role of third parties such as social organizations and increasing their participation in legislation, law popularization, and law enforcement, can we really bring into play the greatest benefits of environmental law. In our past environmental public interest litigations, the participation in each legislative process and our public advocacy have brought about significant changes. The new Environmental Protection Law itself includes extensive participation and outstanding achievements of social organizations and experts. Since we know that this Law on “environmental public interest litigation” is the result of many amendments and extensive solicitation of expert opinions and social opinions.


Environmental Protection Law is designed to protect the public’s environmental interests for today and tomorrow, not to protect the economic development of enterprises.


What role do social organizations play in this process? We should give full space for the participation of social organizations in the three links of legislation, law popularization, and law enforcement.


Then what is the role of enterprises? Enterprises should not simply seek to reduce environmental law enforcement but should first strictly abide by the law; on the basis of the law, enterprises should also play their social responsibility. Since our ecological civilization and the environmental and ecological crisis we are facing cannot be overcome by one or several forces alone, we must unite to achieve it. Moreover, we should take a step forward from the perspective of ethics and corporate social responsibility before the law confirms liability.


Let me give you another example: our new Environmental Protection Law stipulates that “all units and individuals have the obligation to protect the environment” and “enterprises, institutions and other producers and operators should prevent and reduce environmental pollution and ecological damage, and bear responsibility for the damage caused by them in accordance with the law”. However, you may not find a specific provision for take-out disposable tableware. Therefore, some experts describe this kind of clause as “soft law”. Take-out disposable plastic tableware has brought serious waste of resources and environmental pollution: plastic is everywhere, garbage has become a siege, plastic pollution has become a global environmental challenge. However, if you go through the Law, it seems that the law does not strictly prohibit the takeout industry from using disposable tableware in large quantities. Then, the enterprise will take advantage of this flaw, which is wrong. On the contrary, social organizations can play an active supporting role in safeguarding public environmental interests through environmental public interest litigation, which is the most correct behavior. If enterprises seize this flaw, which makes the environment irreparable and arousing the public anger of the whole society, it will be too late to pursue legal responsibility. Shanghai recently introduced a local regulation that “take-out platforms should not offer disposable tableware on their own initiative”, requiring food services and take-out service providers not to offer disposable chopsticks and spoons to consumers on their own initiative. This is another very effective attitude that enterprises, social organizations, and governments should adopt when facing the legal environment problems. We should carefully interpret instead of depressing the interpretation, and “soft law” must also be “hard” to implement.


In February this year, Vice Premier Han Zheng, chairing the meeting of the National Committee for Biodiversity Conservation of China, and pointed out that “the most stringent system and the most stringent rule of law should be used to promote biodiversity conservation and ensure that biodiversity conservation has laws and must to abide by the law”. We are confident that this step will be taken in the near future. Also, conservation of agricultural biodiversity will be a very important part. This must be supported through the full cooperation with relevant departments such as the Ministry of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the People's Republic of China, let’s support this project together.


(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

Original Chinese article:


By / Xue Tongtong