As an intern in Beijing, I’ve witnessed firsthand the booming Chinese economy. I can’t help but be optimistic about the wealth of benefits that it could undoubtedly bring. However, the realist in me can’t help but question – what is the end cost of this exponential growth?
Fortunately for me, I received an answer on my first day as an intern at Project Pengyou. Last night, ‘Greennovate’ stopped by the Project Pengyou office to organize a networking opportunity for social entrepreneurs, and to give a presentation on what they do.
Greennovate is a Shanghai-based organization created in 2007, dedicated to the sowing and cultivation of sustainable business practices in China, and is spearheaded by the determined and engaging Mihela Hladin. Their two-hour presentation at Project Pengyou headquarters was attended by a large, forward-thinking crowd of social entrepreneurs, environmental consultants, and students.
While Greennovate’s presentation portrayed a realistic view of the harsh environmental challenges that Beijing currently faces, it was nonetheless optimistic about the future of the environment in China. Greennovate addressed some myths that corporations often cite, such as the assumption that sustainability practices are financially draining and cumbersome, and that consumers do not care. These are fallacies that are increasingly being debunked by the public. Greennovate also emphasized the ability of businesses to make an impact in mitigating future degradation through sustainable practices, and highlighted the role of the individual in this process.
The evening was a valuable networking opportunity for everyone who attended. It also helped me find some answers to my question about the cost of China’s amazing growth. It seems that the very forces driving the Chinese economy – its businesses and consumers — are the forces capable of mitigating any future cost to the environment.
Photos courtesy of Greennovate.