Sateri (Jiujiang) Fiber Co., Ltd., Viscose plant, Jiangxi, China

Viscose factory that claims to be environmentally friendly has been fined several times over illegal dumping of sewage and toxic waste straight into nearby river.


Description

Viscose (or rayon)  has often been marketed as a more ecologically sustainable alternative to polyester because unlike polyester which is made from petrochemicals, viscose is made from cellulose. It is also praised by some fashion brands because it requires less water to produce compared with cotton. Viscose is found in a huge variety of clothes and is used by almost every major fashion brand to some extent. Although not inherently unsustainable, it is the production process of viscose that presents a very problematic story. Basically, wood pulp is extracted from wood, then turned into viscose staple fibre (VSF) and filament yarn through a highly chemical process using carbon disulphide. Viscose production faces a three pronged issue: the risk of deforestation of ancient forests, occupational hazards of factory workers who are exposed to highly dangerous toxins that have been linked to neurological damage, and heavy contamination that results from poor waste management of viscose factories, not only polluting nearby waters and air, but causing widespread illnesses to villagers in the vicinity of factories [1][2].

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Basic Data
NameSateri (Jiujiang) Fiber Co., Ltd., Viscose plant, Jiangxi, China
CountryChina
ProvinceJiangxi Province
SiteHukou County
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Manufacturing activities
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Chemical industries
Specific CommoditiesEucalyptus
Chemical products
Water
Industrial waste
Viscose
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsSateri (Jiujiang) Fibre Co Ltd acquired this mill from Jiangxi Longda in 2015. They are currently planning a major expansion of 105,000 tonnes. The plant was built with an investment of 11 billion RMB [1].
Project Area (in hectares)809
Level of Investment (in USD)1,686,084,400.00
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Populationunknown
Start Date18/11/2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesSateri Holdings from China
Relevant government actorsJiujiang City Hukou

Jiangxi Provincial Environmental Protection Department
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of Mobilizationunknown, if any
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
OtherExposure to high levels of Zinc in surrounding water bodies
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The company has been fined several times, but there is no evidence that they have stopped polluting the river and air.
Sources and Materials
References

[2] Blanc, P.D. 2016, Fake silk: the lethal history of viscose rayon, Yale University Press, Cumberland.

Links

[3] Sateri Holdings Website
[click to view]

[4] Sateri Sustainability webpage
[click to view]

[1] Changing Markets Foundation 2017, Dirty Fashion: How pollution in the global textiles supply chain is making viscose toxic
[click to view]

[5] "Jiangxi Liuguo Chemical Industry and 12 Other Companies Fined for Environmental Law Violation"
[click to view]

[6] "After 3 Months Investigation, Jiangxi Province Polluting Company Punished for Excessive Emission", 1 June 2016
[click to view]

Other Documents

Pollution from Sateri viscose factory credit: Changing Markets
[click to view]

water samples taken near Sateri plant had extremely high levels of zinc. credit: Changing Markets
[click to view]

Other CommentsThis sheet mostly draws from the report by Changing Markets Foundation 2017, "Dirty Fashion: How pollution in the global textiles supply chain is making viscose toxic"
Meta Information
ContributorMariko Takedomi Karlsson, research intern @ EnvJustice, [email protected]
Last update18/12/2017
Comments