As part of BASF’s 150th anniversary program, Collective Responsibility were appointed to organise a two-day summit on sustainable lifestyles in China, focusing on consumer choices of food, electronics, and textiles.
Industry leaders, government associations, NGOs, and students from leading universities gathered to take part to address the current and future challenges in these sectors, and co-create ways to improve the quality of urban living while reducing the various environmental, social, and economic pressures that come along with rapid urbanization.
Over the two days, speakers from BASF, Interface, Thermofisher and Ecolab provided a background to the challenges faced in the food, textiles and electronics industries, as well as highlighting some of their latest sustainability solutions.
For the interactive workshop sessions there were two teams for each sector, who spent the first day analysing the whole value chain to determine what the sustainability challenges for the sector are, what issue is the biggest risk looking ahead to 2030, and what issue to co-create a solution for today.
In electronics, both groups decided that e-waste and disposal was the priority. One of the groups came up with a multi-stakeholder deposit system that ensures the legal recycling and disposal of e-waste, while incentivizing the re-use and retention of electronics. The other focused on one part of the overall system to create a formalized public collection method for end-consumers.
For food, in each of the group’s proposal, there were two key elements that were focused on: transparency and engagement, throughout the value chain. That, in the absence of strong government regulation (or enforcement of regulations), the best way for the market to provide leadership would be to develop programs that increased awareness of key issues and forced transparency/ accountability throughout so that consumer fear would be removed, the economies could be protected, and brands could be established.
The textiles groups felt that the key priority was the need for stakeholders within the textile industry to be more closely connected and collaborate with one another to achieve sustainable goals. To do this, a Textile Industry Association should be set up to act as a platform for suppliers, producers and professionals; sustainability training sessions for fashion designers and design student could be sponsored by BASF; and finally, stakeholders should work towards a single standardized regulatory board that includes an eco-label for consumers.
In conclusion, this two-day event was just the first step in co-creating sustainability solutions in some of the fastest growing consumer sectors in China. For many of the participants in the room, it was the first time they were meeting external stakeholders from along their industry’s value chain and engaging on the issues. More significantly, however, is that the proposed solutions are now being assessed further by BASF to take forward for implementation in 2016.
If you would like to run a similar summit focused on your company’s industry, please email Charlie Mathews ([email protected]) to find out more!