Overseas Investment, Trade and the Environment

With the proclamation of a “Go Out” economic policy in 2001 and the One Belt, One Road initiative, China has emerged as a global leader in overseas foreign direct investment (OFDI).

Recognizing that China’s outward economic outlook entails environmental and social risks, GEI works alongside key policymakers and international partners to enhance greater understanding around these issues and develop solutions. 

Download the ‘Overseas Investment, Trade and the Environment Program Introduction’ 

Insights and Updates from the Field - OITE Blog

Our Work Focus & Method

With quantitative and evidence-based research, technical expertise, and on-the-ground partnerships, we work to:

  • Encourage the adoption of environmental and social principles into China’s overseas trade and investment activities;
  • Promote bilateral and multilateral exchange and dialogue on green investment and finance.

Our work follows a four-part methodology:

1. Research: Improve Chinese regulations on overseas investment and financial institutions;

2. Policy Advocacy: Promote environmental policy toolkits for enterprises that enhance resource management;

3. Bilateral Platform: Build mechanisms for enterprise, government and NGO collaboration;

4. Capacity Building: Strengthen capacity for responsible and green investment by Chinese firms overseas.

Where We Work


– Advocate for green finance and sustainable projects by Chinese investment banks within China and along the One Belt One Road
– Develop and improve sustainable timber trade and legality
– Provide overseas risk mitigation and management training for Chinese CEOs
– Research and advocate for Chinese NGOs to expand their work internationally


– Curtail illegal timber trade by researching, submitting policy recommendations and facilitating high-level bilateral dialogues;
– Channel increased green investment through bamboo as a wood replacement and energy efficient technology like waste-heat source power for cement plants;
– Bring renewable energy planning tools to Myanmar through partnership with Center for Climate Strategies and Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion-Chinese Academy of Science.

Lower Mekong Region

– Conduct research and provide policy recommendations for Chinese enterprises “going global”
– Help Chinese companies with environmental and social safeguard policies and community development plans
– Build multi-stakeholder platforms for environmental and social safeguards, green investment and climate change issues.

Sri Lanka

– Promote green finance by researching the environmental and social frameworks of China’s EXIM Bank
– Study China’s Coal Divestment strategy


– Study China’s coal divestment strategy

Cameroon, Congo (DRC), Uganda and Mozambique

– Conduct journalist trainings and exchanges to increase media capacity for covering China-Africa timber issues
– Research export and import laws and customs practices related to China-Africa timber trade;
– Study impacts of land-use investments on the forests;
– Research China-Africa bilateral investment treaties;
– Establish and participate in annual China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform

Spotlight on “GEI’s Going Global Series”

Our research gives practical advice and policy recommendations that enable government departments, enterprises and civil society organizations to work together. Our “Going Global” Series is one of the most authoritative and honest voices on China’s overseas investment in the Lower Mekong Region. 

Learn more about the climate for Chinese investment and important experiences by Chinese firms in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam by clicking the respective title.

Program Team

Peng REN
Program Manager
Jingwei ZHANG
Program Officer
Xiu Lian Chen
Program Officer

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