A new report points to evidence of improving environmental & social standards at Chinese resource firms. Interview with author Jill Shankleman
Overseas investments by Chinese extractive companies have attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. From a Chinese perspective, foreign energy and mineral assets are the only way to meet rising demand as the country’s economy grows. But western firms worry about the support their Chinese competitors receive from state banks and other institutions, while international NGOs fear that Chinese investments may meet less exacting environmental and social standards than Western equivalents.
A new report by Dr Jill Shankleman of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, ‘Going global: Chinese oil and mining companies and the governance of resource wealth’, adds important clarity on these issues. Chinese majority state-owned companies are indeed pursuing a strategy of international acquisitions, and to date they have not kept up with western oil and mining companies in terms of environmental and social performance. However, Dr Shankleman argues there are numerous pressures from within China that are pushing them to begin catching up.
Dr Shankleman is an independent consultant and senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center. She is also the author of Oil, Profits and Peace: Does Business Have a Role in Peacemaking? (US Institute of Peace Press, 2006). Here she discusses her research with Critical Resource. Podcast interview: Part 1, Part 2