China, in every sense of the word, is a global giant. Being one of the world’s largest countries, China is also home to the world’s largest population and one of the world’s largest economies. But being on top of world rankings isn’t always good, especially when it comes to being dubbed as one of the world’s most polluted countries.
Fortunately, China hasn’t given up in its efforts to become an environmentally-sustainable nation. Its business sector in particular, persistently works to ensure that China will prosper economically as well as environmentally. Amidst stricter environmental standards, businesses in China are being more scrupulous in their expansions and operations in order to help their nation achieve an environmentally-sustainable future.
Evaluating the environment before setting up shop:
One lesson China has learned in being more environmentally sustainable is evaluating the natural environment and its existing resources before altering it to house industries. Armed with foresight, they are able to plan more fully the directions of their industrial and economic growth, while securing the lives of people from the surrounding communities.
Coal mining has been one of the main industries in the city of Zaozhuang. Regardless of the large profits it brings the city, locals have witnessed the damage and pollution this industry has been inflicting on the environment, not to mention coal is also a finite resource. According to Mayor Zhang Shuping, “Coal mine reserves in Zaozhuang may only last 15 to 20 years. Where the city will go is an urgent question.”
Being forearmed with knowledge of the city’s resources and characteristics, businesses that are not coal-related are encouraged to set up shop in Zaozhuang. In line with this, job opportunities other than coal mining are open for the city’s locals. By evaluating their city’s natural resources, Zaozhuang residents recognize that protecting environmental sustainability also safeguards their livelihood and survival.
Businesses have the most potential to implement environmental innovations:
With businesses being the sources of the products that are consumed and utilized in people’s everyday lives, companies have the ability to make a big difference by applying environmentally-sustainable innovations in their products—making them more energy-efficient, lengthening their lifecycles, or lowering their GHG emissions.
Beijing-based electronics giant Lenovo Group for example, continuously innovates to make its products more energy-efficient. Having projected to sell 50 to 60 million PC units, Lenovo Group aims to improve the energy efficiency of their products by at least 5%.
Along with unrelenting industrial growth is relentless environmentally-sustainable action:
Regardless of falling short of previously-set environmental goals, China is not relenting in setting up more multisectoral actions to curb environmental destruction.
In an effort to maintain its natural environment, the city of Guiyang gives priority to businesses that meet higher environmental quality requirements. During the construction of the Renaissance Hotel in Guanshanhu District, Shanghai Yaohua Pillkington Glass supplied the hotel with energy-saving glass. In its transport industry, buses are encouraged by the local government to switch from petroleum-based fuel to natural gas. Guiyang city mayor Li Zaiyong asserts, “Guiyang is looking to projects that can strike a balance between profitability and environmental merit.”
Chinese companies are providing useful examples of businesses working to improve the local and global environments, and by doing so are sending an important message that environmental sustainability is a necessary element of business and is here to stay.
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