China didn’t need COP21 to act

Hailed as one of the greatest diplomatic efforts of the past 30 years, on Saturday 196 countries came to an agreement to take steps to reduce the risk of global temperature rising beyond 2 degrees. An effort that once again went down to the wire, the agreement represents the start of a long road towards climate change mitigation. A road that many are already calling unrealistic, but for others it…

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China’s Priority is Smog, Not Carbon

For many living in China’s major cities, the start of the COP21 talks was a day of severe air pollution. Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang reached 611, 237 and 274 AQI respectively, prompting the issuing of the highest air quality alert of the year so far in the capital. In light of the climate talks, activists and deniers alike have voiced their opinions on the subject and fierce debate will…

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COP21 – The role of China

On November 30th the UN will kick off the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris. The goal of the summit is for 196 countries to meet and sign a new climate change agreement that will limit temperature rises to less than 2℃ above pre-industrial levels over the century. It is considered by many to be the “last chance”…

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China’s E-Waste Challenge

In this post we continue our insight into the areas of the consumer waste framework in China. Last week we addressed the packaging industry and here we focus on the developing e-waste stream.  By 2020, about 60% of the population in China will live in cities, with 300 million additional residents expected to move into China’s urban centers by 2030. With this population shift comes a dramatic ch…

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A Complex Regional Challenge for China’s new Environmental Minister

China announced this week the appointment of Chen Jining as its next Environmental minister. An environmental specialist and current president of Beijing’s Tsinghua University, he will take over from the widely criticized, Zhou Shengxian, with the move set to pave the way for a stronger stance on domestic environmental policy. His selection comes off the back of a highly decorated academic career…

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Why Businesses Need to Embrace Externalities

At the first minute of this clip, Christopher Meyer of Monitor Talent states that: In my mind, this clip leads to discussion of whether or not CSR is little more than window dressing that diverts the attention (of external stakeholders) away but ultimately does not serve the firm over the long run. That, instead of donating money to causes whose only direct link would be one of market demogr…

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H&M Assumes LEGAL Responsibility for Safety of Outsourced Labor

One of the major issues that I have been speaking about is the fact in outsourced supply chains accountability and responsibility have been largely independent.  That when things went wrong on the factory floor, the brand could hold itself above the issue by saying that it was their suppliers who were the ones who were legally responsible for the failures. A position that many consumers, particul…

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Intangibility Allows Apathy

when speaking in front of large groups, particularly those where future leaders are in the room, I often go out of my way to point out that no CEO on the planet is going to recalibrate their firm to save the polar bears. Even if the, as many would, feel strongly that they are an important icon. And it si not because they don't care, or that they are evil. It is just a simple matter of fact that…

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Sustainability’s Big Four Questions

As Beijing tallies the costs of the smog that inundated the city this week, economic and social, I thought I would highlight a recent lecture I gave that explored the "Big 4" questions that people are asking these days when wondering when action will be taken. How big is the problem faced? What is the timeline? Who is responsible? How much will it cost to fix? Meant to create a framework f…

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Responsible Firms Act Before Governments Do

building off the presentations and research I have given recently on "Beyond Business As Usual", one of the common themes of discussion is why and how firms will act when it comes to living up to their responsibility to more than just the bottom line. That, with the cost of externalities of the current business as usual model rising, a new dynamic is beginning to take shape where firms who do not…

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