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  • Awarded: 2015
  • Issue Areas: Environmental Sustainability · Responsible Supply Chains · Sustainable Markets · Water Management
  • Region: Eastern Asia
  • Web: ipe.org.cn
  • About the Organization

    The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) is a non-profit organization based in Beijing. They have developed pollution databases to monitor corporate environmental performance and to facilitate public participation in environmental governance.

    IPE provides a wealth of information about the state of pollution in China, and the companies and factories responsible. Their website allows users to search the environmental records of Chinese manufacturers, locate the companies on a map, and view the status of air and water pollution in their regions.

    IPE’s aim is to expand environmental information disclosure to allow communities to fully understand the hazards in the surrounding environment, thereby promoting public participation in environmental governance.

    The IPE is a member of a coalition of Chinese NGOs that promotes a global green supply chain by pushing large corporations to pay attention to the environmental performance of their suppliers. This “Green Choice Alliance” consumer initiative considers the environmental performance of manufacturers and calls on consumers and brands to use their purchasing power to make green choices.

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    Economic progress in China has come at a cost – serious pollution and degradation of air, water, and land.

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    IPE analyzes data on environmental violations and makes it accessible to the press, investors, and citizens.

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    Ma Jun's experience as a journalist convinced him that transparency and disclosure are more urgently needed than additional regulation.

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    1,400 factories have taken steps to reduce pollution as a result of data transparency.

    Ambition for Change

    Information on sources of pollution pressures multinational companies to force their subsidiaries and suppliers to clean up factories, and helps the central government hold local governments accountable for enforcement.

    Path to Scale

    Citizen Engagement in Policy Action

    Web-based platform makes pollution information widely available. Partnerships with grassroots organizations encourage dissemination and action. Partnerships with companies and governments identify practical and reasonable solutions.

    Business Model

    Philanthropic support for educational and disclosure activities.

    As an investigative journalist traveling throughout China, Ma Jun saw the dark side of his country’s economic growth – polluted rivers and lakes, foul air. His 1999 book, China’s Water Crisis, was the first major publication on China’s environment, often compared to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as a call for massive action. His research showed that despite good intentions, government capacity to enforce environmental standards was weak. Polluters often found penalties and fines less onerous than the cost of compliance. Convinced that public engagement was crucial for better compliance, he founded the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2006. IPE gathers and analyzes hard-to-find, public environmental data on water and air quality and environmental violations records across China. IPE makes this data accessible and easy to use, so that the press, investors, and citizens can hold suppliers, multinational corporations, and local governments accountable. IPE’s Corporate Information Transparency Index ranks multinational brands by their environmental impact. Its Pollution Information Transparency Index ranks 113 Chinese cities according to their level of environmental information disclosure. A recently launched mobile app allows users to see air quality by location and which nearby companies are polluting. And through its Green Choice Alliance, IPE partners with grassroots NGOs who pressure factories and help publicize environmental violations to inspire local regulatory action.

    Impact & Accomplishments

    • 15,000 companies represented on the pollution map
    • 1,400 cited factories, including factories from the most polluting industries, such as textiles and electronics, have taken steps to decrease pollution (IPE worked directly with 500 of these)
    • IPE’s Green Choices Alliance has helped 150 international companies improve environmental performance in their supply chains.
    • 50,000 users of mobile app

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