Informal Waste Collection in China: A People-Powered Economy

China's waste collection and management system has recently captured public attention. Much of that attention has focused on negative incidents – such as dumping scandals in Shanghai and Wuxi – or uncertainty about the future of waste treatment, with expected landfill closures in Shanghai for 2017. But how much do you really know about waste beyond the headlines? Collective's work on waste i…

Read More

China’s Airpocalypse: Why London’s Playbook Won’t Work.

“Beijing’s pollution is bad, but they'll clean their air just like London did …” In 1952, the five-day Great Smog of London killed more than 12,000 people and made over 150,000 people ill. It was an environmental disaster that many people today consider both a cautionary tale and an instructive example of how to address and overcome an air crisis for areas in similar situations – in part because…

Read More

Generosity & Philanthropy in China: It’s About Context

THE QUESTION: IS CHINA GENEROUS? Much of our work here at Collective centers on the business side of "social entrepreneurship" in China – going beyond business as usual to work towards the development of a better world. Yet, we also run into a certain question from the more philanthropic side of that mission: Is China generous? Answering such a loaded question risks overgeneralizing a country…

Read More

Why a Chinese Government Lawsuit is an Opportunity for Sustainability

China has some of the largest and fastest-growing megacities in the world. And with 100 million more people moving to those cities by 2020, China will have to tackle critical urbanization issues years, even decades ahead of everyone else. One area that doesn't receive nearly enough attention is waste management. Through our ongoing research on waste in China, we've studied the realities of Shan…

Read More

Smog in China: Wind Patterns and Pollution

Air pollution is on everyone's radar, not just in China, but throughout the world. Recent news pieces are beginning to expose the extent to which air pollution is becoming a truly global problem. From London, to Delhi, to Beijing, public consciousness of the issue is higher than ever, and politicians worldwide are being forced to act. Not a New Challenge Of course, this is nothing new for Chi…

Read More

China’s Landfills Are Closing: Where Will The Waste Go?

In China, waste and waste management have attracted national concern. From environmental issues like toxic chemicals in sea water, to issues affecting urban centers – like Beijing's burdened landfills – waste has become a central part of public discourse. With this in mind, we thought we'd share insights from our past and recent work on waste in Shanghai, and shed light on major changes to waste m…

Read More

[NEW WEBSERIES] #AskTheCollective: Episode 001

As a way to engage with you, our audience, we are happy to announce that Episode 001 of the #AskTheCollective video series is now live! This episode features topics ranging from food waste in China to the reality of China's pledge to become an "ecological civilization". Special thanks to our askers: Travis Opocensky, Hunter Lovins, John Dennis Liu, Ariel Muller, and Rob Watson. #AskTheCollectiv…

Read More

From China to India: Scaling Sustainable Solutions

Early this year, I took a flight from Mumbai to Shanghai - which included a five-hour, pollution-related delay in Delhi. During the whole time in the air, it was only over the Himalayas that I saw the Asian continent getting a respite from the consequences of industrial activity, localized burning, and energy consumption. India: The Next "China" India is now well-documented to follow in Chin…

Read More

Moving Towards Home: “Hope and Opportunity” Revisited

At the beginning of 2016, we interviewed more than 100 migrant workers in Shanghai. We listened to their bittersweet life stories. One of the stories, in particular, touched our hearts. Check out the video below, and the following article explaining China's unique migration phenomenon. This is a story about 200 yuan and a dream. "Chunyun" refers to the travel season for the Spring Fest…

Read More

To gym, or not to gym? That is the question.

It is a question that many ask themselves as they look out the window to the fresh morning haze over the Shanghai skyline: To exercise, or not to exercise? As the full force of winter hits areas of northern China, the realities of factory activity and energy consumption are clear with pollution thickening the sky. Living with the realities of pollution can be frustrating, leaving many wondering…

Read More