ISO 14000 Standards and China: A Trade and Sustainable Development Perspective

By Tom Conway on January 29, 2002
This paper has been prepared for an "International Conference on ISO 14000 and Sustainable Development" being held November 5-7, 1996 in Beijing, China. The objective of this paper is to consider strategic issues posed by the entire family of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14000 standards viewed from a trade and sustainable development perspective.

The paper is comprised of five substantive sections that mirror areas where strategic issues for China can arise. Section 2, the first substantive section, provides background and analysis on the family of ISO 14000 standards and the process used to develop these standards. This section should be of interest to readers who have not yet had the opportunity to become informed about the ISO process. Other readers may wish to move to Section 3. The analysis of Section 2 leads to the conclusion that China has an opportunity to actively participate in the ongoing ISO 14000 process since many important issues relevant to Chinese trade interests remain to be resolved. In particular, product oriented standards for environmental labeling, life-cycle assessment, and environmental characteristics of product policies are still being developed.

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IISD, 2002