Myths, Misunderstanding, Miscommunication and Mistakes: an In-Depth Analysis of Facts Concerning Product-Related Environmental Regulations on Electrical and Electronic Equipment in China, Japan and Korea
Posted: 17 May 2006
Date Written: May 10, 2006
The purpose of this article is to provide clarification to corporate environmental managers and/or legal counsel of multinational companies on current and emerging product-related regulatory developments in China, Japan and Korea. Specific pending and proposed product-related environmental regulations on electrical and electronic equipment have been analyzed to develop a case study.
While Europe may have been the instigator, more or less significant material restriction and end-of-life disposition requirements are now spreading worldwide. "WEEE" and "RoHS" are no longer an isolated "European phenomenon" but are inexorably becoming part of a much larger, unstoppable and irreversible trend, requiring manufacturers and users of impacted products around the world to become more proactive and strategically focused. Far from the end of the story where regulation of electrical and electronic products are concerned, this is just the beginning of a sea-change in how we approach environmental protection for the long haul. Industry not only needs to get on board with this, it will need to get ahead of, and eventually take the lead on this juggernaut.
Unfortunately, all too often, managers with responsibility for compliance with international product-related environmental requirements speak only English, and may find themselves relying on incomplete or mistranslated information on new policy and regulatory initiatives in "exotic" Asia-Pacific countries, such as China, Korea and Japan, and may, in fact, be dealing more with "myths" than reality. In turn, the fairly widespread misunderstanding this engenders tends to contribute to frequent miscommunication of the real implications, thus hampering effective corporate decision-making in this regard. Not surprisingly, this may cause many companies to make serious mistakes as they attempt to elaborate appropriate strategies for coping with these new challenges. This is particularly of concern where the responsible corporate actors have limited on-the-ground experience and have a home-country bias when it comes to the way in which they interpret environmental policies and regulations.
By providing and analyzing the background and details of new product-related environmental policies and regulations affecting the electrical and electronic products industry, this article aims to provide managers of corporate international environmental affairs with guidance on how to understand the different legal systems and what is happening with respect to the development and implementation of product-related environmental regulations in these three critical Asia markets.
Keywords: RoHS, WEEE, Environmental Regulations, China, Japan, Korea, electrical and electronic equipment
JEL Classification: F14, K23, K32, K40, M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation