Volume 3, 2007
Controversies in International Corporate Responsibility
China’s Rapid Industrialization and its Sustainability Discontents
Understanding the Strategic Implications for Business
Despite the attention given to China’s rising importance in the international marketplace, I argue that corresponding attention has not been given to the sustainability dimensions—the social and environmental dimensions of this economic development trajectory. Specifically, what type of business strategy can and will best serve the economic, environmental, and social needs of China, and what role, if any, can the private sector play to facilitate the development of such a strategy? In exploring this question, I first examine the evolving relationship between business and sustainable development. I then outline the sustainability challenge within the regional context in the Asia-Pacific region. Finally, I analyze sustainability challenges posed by China’s rise in the global economy and assess the impacts of these challenges on current and future business strategies.