If it’s Friday I must be in Nanjing, literally the southern capital of China. A hipsterish boutique hotel called the Metropolo with self-described “sassy” rooms was my home from home here. At only CNY280 per night, it was quite a steal. Despite a distinct lack of sass, the room’s excellent facilities provided plenty of comfort for my aching back.
The drive to our partner’s factory just outside Ningbo yesterday was absolutely gorgeous with a panorama of lush springtime “shanshui” (mountain and water) scenes flashing past the windows of the car as if we were watching a movie. The industrial estate in which the factory is located was by far the most beautiful business park that I’ve ever visited with plenty of trees and green spaces.
There’s no reason why manufacturing can’t operate in harmony with its surrounding environment. The key is a close partnership between government and industry that combines careful planning and strict enforcement of rules and regulations by the local authorities and a strong commitment from companies to live up to their environmental responsibilities and implement sustainable processes.
Talking with senior managers and staff at the factory, it was very clear that they take great personal and professional pride in the work they are doing in creating more environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes and transitioning their facilities to meet new government zero emissions and renewable energy usage targets.
The local government is playing its part, too, by for example linking the estate to the subway system to reduce vehicle traffic and emissions and working closely with companies to encourage them to accelerate the transition to green manufacturing. Of course, this process will take time and will require huge levels of investment, but there’s no doubt in my mind that China will make it happen.