The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Labour and Environmental Concerns


  • Sanjiv Pandita


Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), labour and environmental concerns, civil society responses, Chinese capital


The recent establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is widely seen as a major shift in the regional and global economic leadership, with overwhelming support not only from Asian economies but also from major European countries. As an institution that aims to redefine the global economic order, the AIIB poses a significant challenge to the established US, Europe and Japan-led multilateral institutions. It is widely seen as part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ policy aimed at building
infrastructure along the ‘silk road’ under the leadership of Chinese economic might. This paper argues, though, that while traditional economic powers feel challenged by the AIIB, the new bank is, in actuality, based on similar ‘neo- liberal’ paradigms followed by other multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF, or the ADB, which will ultimately lead to the further marginalisation and dispossession of Asian communities. This paper attempts to highlight the labour and environmental concerns that the AIIB brings with it, and argues that the new institution does not posit any change or improvement in the conditions of working people in the region. It analyses what the AIIB entails for workers and communities in Asia, and its possible impacts on the environment. It also highlights some of the initial responses and concerns from the civil society against this financial body.

Author Biography

Sanjiv Pandita

Sanjiv Pandita is the executive director of the Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong. He has been on the front lines of labour activism in Asia for two decades now. His expertise in occupational health and safety has been recognized internationally, including by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; in 2008, he was named one of the 50 Most Influential EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) Leaders by EHS Today. His recent publications include “Global Supply Chains: Struggle within or against them?” included in the book Lessons for Social Change in the Global Economy: Voices from the Field (2014, Maryland: Lexington Books), as well as chapters on China and India in Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and Environmental Justice in the Global
Electronics Industry (2006, Philadelphia: Temple University Press). Email:

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How to Cite

Pandita, S. (2015) “The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Labour and Environmental Concerns”, Asian Labour Review, 1(1), pp. 49–66. Available at: (Accessed: 20 May 2024).