Action Over Regulation: The Economics of China’s Recycled Paper & Cardboard

In a prior article in our ongoing series of waste management in China, we pointed out that rebranding waste as a resource can provide an alternative lens when discussing waste. As a valued resource, recycled paper and cardboard in China offer a unique case of how global market mechanisms and government regulation impact the role of waste in society. From foreign imports to sharp spikes in domes…

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China’s Emissions & Economic Growth: A Tradeoff No Longer Justified

While some might consider a tradeoff between a country's economic development and the resulting socio-environmental burdens to be "justifiable", China has reached the tipping point at which the air crisis is significantly impacting economic development as well. The well-being of China's market is beginning to suffer, with stakeholders reluctant to engage with a country in the middle of an emiss…

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The Nitty-Gritty: A Rundown of China’s Emissions Issue

While the rest of the world debates the impact of carbon emissions and the need to create binding agreements, China’s battle with air pollution has grown tangible enough to effectively catalyze stakeholders into action. With only six of China’s cities meeting the second tier of the National Environmental Air Quality Standards (NEAQS) in 2015, air pollution has become one of the biggest challenges…

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Getting It Right: IKEA and the Power of Consumer Behavior

None can deny the critical importance of China’s market to global corporations and their leadership. With a population of over 1 billion consumers, China has become a proving ground for CEOs, an integral influencer in the international stock market, and the country where corporations learn to prototype innovate products for a massive, diverse base of customers and clients. Above all, China's hi…

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衣食住行 – New Innovation in China’s Basic Needs

Globally, China is often portrayed as the bad guy when it comes to environmental degradation and harm. While this is not without substance, and in many areas China is lacking far behind the world leaders, a growing public consciousness and the identification of opportunity is leading innovators to tackle the problems with business solutions. In this post, we outline areas of development and innova…

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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 demog…

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Plugging the Sustainability Gap

Tweaking the graphics that I have come to rely on for many of my presentations, I decided it was time to take a crack at developing a visual representation of what I feel has become the gap between economic performance and social and environmental sustainability. And the above was what I have come up with. For me, where this simple visual I believe does the job is that the sustainability gap…

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Trade-Offs and Externalities

While doing a bit of research on externalities and trade-offs this afternoon, I came across this graphic representation of sustainable development, and the forces that are in play. For me, it was a nice and clean graphic about how one can think about / present the forces that are occurring in today's market, environment, and society, and offers a starting place for framing the recalibration tha…

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Practically Engaging the Firm’s Externalities to Reduce Risk

While meeting with 10 partners from one of the world's leading consulting firms, I engaged in a conversation where I spoke about how foreign firms in China would seemingly do all they could to look away from obvious risk, and then find themselves in crisis mode when things went south. JCI and Apple were my two examples.  Particularly as BOTH believed (and fought for) they were within legal para…

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Rethinking Capitalism or Rethinking Expectations?

A very interesting interview of Michael Porter focuses on his recent work (thoughts) on how firms going forward are going to have to rethink how they formulate strategies. Creating shared value, Porter effectively states that firms will have look at their value proposition, look at quality, and look at their role as members of society.  That instead of operating through models that extract,…

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