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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AI and Cities

With twenty-five megacities, with populations of at least ten million people, currently dotting the Earth, and an expected thirty more coming by 2025, the next few decades will see unprecedented movements of people into the city. Movements that are fueled by the hope for opportunity, but are themselves posing some of the greatest challenges as megacities commonly struggle with issues such as un…

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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 resid…

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What Education and Skills Will You Need When AI Takes Over?

Automation has the potential to dramatically increase human productivity and enrich lives.  But at the same time this potential benefit is also one of the greatest stumbling blocks to be navigated by society.  If AI and automation are not implemented with careful and thoughtful oversight these technologies have the potential to perpetuate inequality; low class jobs will be automated and an innovat…

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Rural Healthcare: Field Notes From Shaanxi

In 2009, the Chinese government introduced a healthcare reform plan aimed at providing affordable medical care for its entire population by 2020. This ¥850 billion reform called attention to inequalities within the country’s public healthcare system, notably the urban-rural healthcare disparity. Reforms have focused primarily on strengthening primary care in lower-tier and remote areas, which will…

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Earthworm Farms: Solving China’s Food Waste Challenge

“Food waste is a HUGE issue and hard to tackle, but (for us) we see it as a resource and opportunity.” - Earthworm Farm Manager With China’s population explosion, the ever-growing food waste has become an increasing pressure for cities. One innovative solution is earthworm cultivation. During our research on food waste, we visited one earthworm farm in Shanghai, who officially help dispos…

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The Future of Productivity Forum

This past Tuesday Collective Responsibility hosted “The Future of Productivity” forum to discuss the approach companies and individuals should take to business and their careers in a world increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence.  Collective Responsibility’s own Charlie Mathews, Director of Corporate Advisory, opened the event by describing a global labor market that is in flux as AI be…

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Is it all over for Humans? The future of AI and HR

The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in society has been hailed by some as a technological revolution set to eclipse the invention of the wheel, steam engine, automobile, or even the internet in terms disrupting human society. Optimists believe that AI will allow humans to accelerate productivity, squash inefficiencies and create a world free from want.  Pessimists see the a…

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Shanghai’s Informal Waste Sector is Formalizing. FAST!

With the rapid growth of China, citizens become more affluent and waste has been generated with an unprecedented rate, many of China’s first and second tier cities have been forced to rethink waste management. Particularly, the informal waste management systems that have, to date, efficiently closed the loop on a lot of waste streams. In Shanghai, with two of its largest landfills in the proces…

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Shanghai Still Appeals to Young Migrant Workers. For Now.

This latest installment in our “Hope and Opportunity” article series, and last week's piece on Rat Tribes and Ant hills, we take a look at why young migrant workers are still drawn to Shanghai. Understanding Shanghai's Young Migrant Workers Young migrant workers born in the 1980s and 1990s now make up 60% of the total migrant population in China. Compared to their parents, the younger generation…

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Food-Water-Energy Nexus in China: Challenges and Opportunities

Moving towards an ever increasing urban world and the pressure and strains that richer more expectant consumers place on the worlds resources put our ecosystem and ability to provide for the populations at risk. The food-water-energy nexus is at the centre of this considered development. The three areas are intrinsically linked and underpin almost all areas of human consumption and activity. Th…

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Edtech Opportunity: Educating China’s Migrant Students

What used to be an array of migrant housing is now razed to the ground. Rubble and weeds are the only traces of the previously-existing migrant community. According to the local government, the area will be used for development, so it has been slowly removing this community over the past few years. Most of the people who lived here before were forced to move elsewhere, and plots of land lay empty…

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Ant & Rat Tribes: China’s 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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Beijing Workshop: Closing the Loop on Waste

Last Thursday, Collective Responsibility hosted it’s Beijing session on “Closing the Loop on Waste” to look at how China is managing its growing supply of waste, the implications for business, and to share some best practices for how firms in the retail and manufacturing sector are closing the loop in China. Joining the session, we had Libo Ma, Director in Corporate Culture, Employee Engagement…

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