Natural capital—the world’s stocks of natural assets that include soil, air, and water—provides us with a great deal of services essential to human life and, increasingly, to companies’ bottom lines.
Sustainability management is more than an emerging field; it is a vital aspect of many organizations and economies across the globe. Today’s leaders have accepted this as fact, and interest in environmental sustainability is increasing at all levels of society, which makes incorporating sustainability into daily operations of great importance.
As China incorporates environmental considerations into its economic planning process, its government appears to be carefully examining the relationship between sustainability and broader development goals.
Last weekend, Earth Institute executive director Steven Cohen and post-doctoral research scholar Dong Guo participated in the Fourth Global Think Tank Summit in Beijing, hosted by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE). CCIEE, the preeminent think tank in China headed by the former vice premier, hosted hundreds of politicians, scholars, business leaders, and experts from nearly 30 countries at the summit.
On Tuesday, authors Steven Cohen, William Eimicke, and Alison Miller celebrated the release of their new book, Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy. Moderated by Columbia MPA in Environmental Science and Policy alum Curtis Probst, the authors discussed the critical role of government and public policy in bringing about a sustainable economy at a book launch hosted by the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Earth Institute Executive Director Steven Cohen traveled to Beijing to formalize a partnership with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, the preeminent think tank in China, to design sustainability metrics based on China’s unique development conditions.
In China, measuring sustainability is in a preliminary but progressive stage, and the government is playing a leading role in driving Chinese companies to go green. Behind the encouraging numbers, however, lie some less attractive facts.