Many international policies that adopt the precautionary principle such as European REACH directives have emerged in response to the regulatory dilemma caused by the fast growing use of toxic chemicals in electronics production. However, while these current global green electronic standards pay much attention to substances in the product, the adverse impacts of chemicals and solvents used in the manufacturing process are still not under the scrutiny of the international policy framework. Today, the social and environmental responsibility for clean production by worldwide electronics suppliers is often evaluated based on the compliance of national laws. Such a measure overlooks the reality that the governments in the developing countries have been reluctant to advance environmental policies and regulations for fear of driving out the “high-tech” industry. Asia, the largest base for manufacturing high-tech electronic products has poor regulatory infrastructures to address contamination from the rapidly advancing electronics industry. While suppliers point to their compliance with national laws in order to fulfill brand name companies' supply chain social and environmental policies, these claims by no means ensure sustainable production of electronics. This paper examines a series of controversies occurring in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) review processes of the fourth stage of the Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP), as well as the legal battles surrounding the cancellation of the approved EIA for the third stage of the CTSP/ Cising Site. The paper explores obstacles to advancing environmental policies in managing and regulating electronics production. The analysis further leads us to understand the role science and politics play in influencing environmental decision making and how the political decisions to ensure science park expansion have overridden the scientific assessment of environmental and health risks. In light of this, we recom- - mend developing a holistic global framework that goes beyond phasing out toxics in the finished product. We argue it is necessary to incorporate the environmental performance of manufacture into the assessment in order to leaven national policy toward sustainable production goals within high-tech manufacturing sectors.
the Proceedings of the 2010 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST), 1-6.