Shanghai’s Informal Waste Sector is Formalizing. FAST!

With the rapid growth of China, citizens become more affluent and waste has been generated at 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 process…

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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 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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Qatar’s Food Security Crisis: Lessons for China

You might be forgiven for thinking that politics is politics and food and resource provision is left to business, but more and more so implications of politics on a country's ability to feed and power its population are increasing. The current scenario in the Gulf states is proof of this, on 5 June, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries severed ties with Qatar and moved to cut off land, sea and…

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Food Waste Management: A MASSIVE Growth Opportunity in China

With China’s growing number of urban consumers, more and more pressure is being placed on the system to account for the outputs of cities, particularly on its food systems. One of the growing concerns is the issue of managing the sizeable amount of food waste that is coming from restaurants, canteens, and households. It is a concern that is increasingly strained by the poor waste management pr…

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Asia Promises To Tackle Ocean Plastic

Plastic, it is one of the most widely used materials in the economy, and as we are coming to understand through various studies, it is quickly becoming one of the greatest challenges that need to be addressed.  Many use cases for plastics are unrivaled in its properties and price. It is everywhere that we look and people continue to consume and make, from large uses to the small consumables th…

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Educating China’s Left-Behind Children

As the gaokao has come to pass, let’s talk about promoting the education of all children in China. The National Higher Education Entrance Exam, or the gaokao, is a prerequisite for almost all higher education undergraduate institutions. Students take the gaokao to access the next step of their educational careers. However, one group of students is systematically prevented from taking the exam that…

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Reducing China’s Food Packaging Waste through Innovation

As the largest city in China, Shanghai has an important role in innovating and contributing to a global solution to the problem of waste. With over 24 million people living in Shanghai, materials sustainability, particularly that of plastics, is a significant issue. Waimai or food delivery, which is extremely common in Shanghai, creates large amounts of waste due to the plastic containers, bags, a…

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Starbucks Takes Care of China’s elderly

When speaking to firms about starting to develop their sustainability strategy, we push firms to start with having a much deeper understanding of the challenges that their customer, communities, and wider stakeholders face. To understand the issues, at the local level, that are faced on a daily basis by those that you are looking to engage (positively) and build off it. It is a tough request for m…

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Recycled Waste in Shanghai: Where it goes

For our regular readers, you will know that we have been spending last several months looking deep into how waste is managed in China, with a specific focus on how recycled waste is collected, sorted, and processed in Shanghai. This is driven in part by the belief that Shanghai has, and will, serve as a model for city development in China going forward. It is a city that not only has experience…

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Bike Sharing: The Business Case for Sustainable Mobility

  As millions of China’s growing middle class have become new car owners, China’s private car market has propelled it into being one of the most attractive car markets in the world. For automakers, this has been a boom as ownership oversharing was the norm, but the challenges of car ownership in the form of traffic and air pollution have also grown. To tackle the problems, China has…

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Waste in Shanghai: Rising Pressures for the Informal System

China's waste management system is feeling the heat. Over the past few months, scandals from illegal dumping to capacity reaches of major landfills have exposed the complexities of Shanghai’s waste stream – and the challenges that exist in controlling its management. These issues are not unique to Shanghai – they represent broader trends and issues of consumption growth in many of China’s ci…

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