Why a Western Model of Recycling Won’t Work for China

China’s recent waste import ban has led to increased conversations globally on the topic of waste management. In China, one conversation that comes up in particular, among the general public and Chinese government alike, is the need to have a better system of household waste categorization for the millions of residents that live in Shanghai. The call is for a sorting system that is more aligned to…

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Interview: Inside the Inclusion Factory

Be it a physical or intellectual challenge, China today is home to more than 80 million individuals living with a disability, many of whom do not have the right to work and have a job. The exclusion of such a large number of people from traditional work is a challenge that the government has already taken up through the development of a quota system and tax breaks for employers who hire more inclu…

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Building More Schools Is Not The Solution

Public awareness on the need to address the plight of China’s left-behind children was reignited earlier this year following the high-profile story of Ice-Boy, one of 62 million children left-behind children living in rural China, and attending rural schools, without parental care. Among those who spoke out on the need for targeted support for rural children was Jack Ma, founder of China’s tech…

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“Ice Boy” and China’s Left-Behind Children

Every so often, breaking news brings China’s left-behind children to the forefront of public attention. Recent reports of left-behind child orphans being adopted and trained by martial arts clubs led to public debate over the fate of rural children growing up alone, as well as the shocking finding from a survey late last year in which 11.9% of left-behind children said that their parents working a…

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Worker Wellbeing: The New Factory Audit?

Supply chains are the backbone of our global economy; they deliver the goods and services we use around the world, spanning geographic, industry and cultural boundaries. As these interconnected webs of supply and demand become more complex, how they are managed has major implications for the well-being of the workers that produce those goods, as well as society and the environment at large. Con…

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Left-Behind Children: The Parents’ Perspective

“I work in a clothing factory in Guangdong. This year after returning home to spend Chinese New Year with my 5 year old son, I found work in Nanchong, the closest city to my home village in Sichuan. But after 2 months, I had to go back to the factory. The salary here is 700RMB lower per month. I can't afford to live closer to home.”                                                              …

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E-Waste: Does the Informal System Do It Better?

In our extensive research into the informal waste systems of Shanghai over the last year, we have recently begun to explore the inner workings of a specific branch of this system: the e-waste stream. As the fastest growing waste stream, with over 16Mt generated in Asia, e-waste is hazardous, complex and costly to treat. It is also incredibly valuable with a thriving economy set up around it. Du…

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Do Migrants Still Want an Urban Hukou?

The past 40 years of China’s economic transformation has drastically changed the relationship between its rural and urban populations, and through this process, more than 277 million rural migrants have moved to the cities to find work. Migrants who do not lack access to social services like healthcare, housing and education because they hold a rural Hukou, and thus are not considered urban reside…

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Ant & Rat Tribes: China Lacks Affordable Housing

When 400 migrant workers were discovered living below an upscale apartment complex in Beijing last week, it was another sign of just how high housing costs have become in China's largest cities, and the lengths that some are driven to in finding a place called home. Known as shuzu or “rat tribes” by the locals, the discovery represents an estimated 1 million people living in a warren of Cold-Wa…

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Target Hackathon Makes the Connection!

Following a two-week period of desk and field research, the Target Design an APP for left-behind children hackathon was held in Shanghai last weekend. Six student teams brainstormed for 24-hours straight to design an innovative APP that transforms the way migrant worker parents communicate with their children left behind in rural China. The outputs at the end of the 24-hour deadline were some h…

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Training day: Target Hackathon Targets Left-Behind Children in China

Last Saturday, we kicked off the first phase of our upcoming Target hackathon this June 2-3 where five student teams from leading Chinese, and one from the US, will spend 24 hours working to design an APP that will help migrant worker parents to stay better connected to their left-behind children. These training sessions act to engage the students in the challenge and to get them thinking more…

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Target Hackathon | Design an APP for China’s Left Behind Children

We are excited to announce our next hackathon, hosted by Target Corporation on June 2-3 in Shanghai, will bring student teams will work with executives from leading technology and design communities to create a mobile app that helps connect migrant workers parents and their left-behind children. Of the 277 million rural laborers who migrate hundreds of miles away from home to China’s cities in…

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