McChina

February 4, 2008 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Apologies for the lack of postings here, I’ve been away in China where the Great FireWall of China prevented me from accessing my blog.

Ever since studying the great Chinese opportunities at business school and hearing Jim Slater (a famous investor) say that the best investment you could ever make was to teach your children Chinese, I’ve been keen to visit the country to see this great giant as it awakens – and it was no disappointment. There is little doubt that China will be the world’s leading economy in the not-too-distant future.

From a Bright Green perspective, China is particularly fascinating for many reasons. Here are a couple that might not necessarily spring to mind:

1) In Beijing, it’s -5C in the winter and +30C in the summer, meaning that there are HUGE power demands both in the summer (air conditioning) and winter for many of the cities in China.

2) Much of China is desert and this has massive ramifications in terms of water usage in the cities. Water will be one of China’s greatest environmental and in turn economic problems in future. See this article, about the opportunity from an investment perspective and this from the NY Times

3) There are western brands everywhere – from the moment I arrived in the airport (KFC and McDonalds were the first things I saw through the passport control) to our hotel in Beijing (where there is a shopping mall full of Burberrys and Chanels in our lobby). As a result, these brands have more potential to influence the environmental/social agenda than I had anticipated and as such more responsibility too. This further deepens the need to get the right people into the CSR teams at these firms.

4) There has been a massive rise in meat consumption in China (and India) in recent times, which is a great danger to the environment if it continues. This year I’ve decided to try to reduce my meat consumption because of it’s considerable contribution to our environmental problems.

Here’s an interesting article that gives some views of pollution from the Chinese perspective

China is both a very exciting and very worrying concern to environmentalists. I look forward to opening a Bright Green office in China in the not-too-distant future. China, more than anywhere else in the world, needs to attract the best people to address their environmental issues.

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