Green Belt and Road Initiative Environmental and Social Standards: Will Chinese Companies Conform?

Volume 50 Number 4
Published: December 18, 2019

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China in 2013 has been seen as one of the most ambitious initiatives to enhance infrastructure connectivity within and across countries. However, the initiative has attracted some controversy over the last five years. On the one hand, it is commended for responding to the urgent needs of many developing countries in building up basic energy and transportation infrastructures; on the other hand, it is questioned for the environmental, social, and fiscal impacts brought by large-scale infrastructure projects. The Chinese government proposed a green BRI in 2016. It is critical to understand whether greening the BRI will be translated into action, especially by the Chinese companies who fund and construct BRI projects. This article examines the pressures and incentives Chinese companies face alongside their capacity to green BRI projects. Gaps are identified in these three aspects and policy recommendations proposed to the key stakeholders.

From Issue: Vol. 50 No. 4 (2019) | The Belt and Road Initiative and the SDGs: Towards Equitable, Sustainable Development