China has identified illegal production and use of CFC-11 as part of ongoing investigations following the July publication of an EIA report Blowing It that revealed Chinese companies using CFC-11 – a banned ozone-destroying chemical – in blowing agents used for producing foam insulation.
As enforcement actions continue, last week the China Plastics Processing Industry Association (CPPIA) launched a new initiative to stop illegal CFC-11 use, stating it is the obligation of every company industry-wide to protect the environment, operate in accordance with the law, and to voluntarily boycott illegal blowing agents.
“It is extremely encouraging to see that the Chinese government and industry are considering comprehensive measures addressing the drivers of illegality such as labeling of blowing agent in trading contracts as well as investing in alternative technology that would ensure that we not only pause the current illegal usage but are able to put a full-stop to what is likely one of the largest environmental crimes of this century,” said EIA Climate Campaign Lead Avipsa Mahapatra. “Clamping down merely a few enterprises without systemic changes could mean that similar illegal enterprises pop-up in other regions, not only gravely undermining the global ozone success, but also exacerbating climate challenge.”
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of polyurethane foam and signed on to the global ban on production and consumption of CFC-11 under the Montreal Protocol. This issue of new illegal production and use of CFC-11 was high on the agenda of the recent Montreal Protocol meeting in July in Vienna, where Parties adopted an unanimous call for action to identify sources and tasked the scientific, technical and economic assessment panels with providing comprehensive findings to 30th Meeting of the Parties.
EIA Executive Director Alexander von Bismarck said: “EIA commends the Chinese Government for these immediate enforcement efforts and the successful identification of specific production and use of CFC-11. We’ll continue to assist in any way we can. It’s very positive that China is telling the world about their actions. Continued publicity of follow-up actions and appropriate penalties could begin to bring the required deterrents against these environmental crimes to the global market.”