Production delays… now with extra smog!

If you’re in the process of bringing products to market, and manufacturing them in China, you’re probably already aware of their extensive holiday schedule. It is not uncommon at all for factories to shut down for up to a week to celebrate for one reason or another. China really knows how to holiday!

So, though it’s really just common sense in general to understand potential roadblocks in your project, it is indeed very important that you take a look at your hoped-for timeline, in conjunction with a calendar of Chinese holidays, to make sure that what you’re trying for is realistic. There’s a decent chance you’re going to run into a holiday or two, and if you’re trying to get loose ends tied up before the Western holiday season, it’s important.

But wait, there’s more!

Turns out there’s one other calendar you should take into account… a political one. If China will be expecting foreign dignitaries in town, you can expect delays to your production schedule as a result of that too.

WHAT?

Yes.

The day-to-day smog is so horrible in China due to air pollution from factories, that when they’re expecting company, they shut down factories to allow the air to clear.

No!

Just Google “APEC blue”, and be prepared to shake your head. “APEC blue” is a term that was coined by the people of Beijing, when the skies above their fair city cleared thanks to temporary work stoppage at local factories in preparation for the APEC summit 8 years ago. And this past September, a new term was born: “G20 Green”. Same deal, different conference.

My lungs hurt for the Chinese people in a way I never knew it would or could. Or should. Never in a million years would it have occurred to me that they would purposely try to obscure the world’s understanding of how bad the pollution is. And by removing the very obscurity that they expect the people of their country to live through (and with) on a daily basis? Sad stuff. But I guess I’m learning.

My main question is why? If the smog and air pollution are a direct result of the actions (or lack thereof) of the foreign dignitaries they are hosting, would it not be much more effective to show them the fallout of such policies? Make them breathe the air too?

The nations that make up the G20 provide more than $440 billion in fossil fuel subsidies annually, and account for 74% of global carbon pollution. The G20 summit is intended to give developing countries a voice in shaping the global economy going forward. It seems to me that this is a prime space in which to discuss the implications of current agreements and actions performed by these countries… how best to work together toward supporting each other and growing together in a sustainable way. A way that doesn’t kill the planet and its inhabitants.

Maybe I’m too Pollyanna. It is indeed a lot of money we’re talking about. And money talks.

Regardless of your feelings on the topic, it is important to be aware. If you’re manufacturing your goods in China, it’s good that you know that this happens. The basic advice here is that building extra time into your production schedule is always a good idea. It’s hard to know ahead of time all of the things that can affect you, but this is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

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