Strategies for sustainable supply chains in China was the focus of a high level forum in Beijing in early May, presented by Columbia Global Centers | East Asia, Columbia University’s Earth Institute and The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) with support from the Walmart Foundation and the China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC). The May 8, 2015 forum, titled “Sustainability Policy and Practice: Promoting a Sustainable Supply Chain” attracted nearly 100 representatives from government agencies, corporations, academic institutions, trade associations, and NGOs to discuss Chinese enterprises’ experiences and strategies in sustainable development, focusing on the supply chain.

In recent years, China has been focused on accelerating its economic development through the four pillars of “Industrialization, Informatization, Urbanization, and Agricultural Modernization.” In March 2015, the pillar of “Greenization” was officially added to this development framework in order to reflect the importance of environmental sustainability to China’s goals of economic progress. With advanced policy development, sustainability can stimulate huge economic opportunities, investment, and consumer demand. It is in this context that the forum discussed how green supply chains provide a unique opportunity to bolster Chinese enterprise and create a positive and lasting impact on sustainability in China.

In the morning session of the forum, The Earth Institute and the Columbia Global Centers | East Asia presented their findings from a recent project with The Sustainability Consortium, which aims to improve the systems and tools for assessing product sustainability. The evaluation team shared lessons learned for promoting a sustainable supply chain in China, specifically relating to establishing partnerships, engaging local stakeholders, and building capacity for Chinese suppliers. Morning sessions also covered sustainability policy and metrics in China; sustainability investing, finance, and research; sustainability and Smart Cities, and a panel on multilateral cooperation for a sustainable future. Speakers included representatives of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), GCGI&VC Government/Smart City/China Institute of Electronic Government, IBM, Institute of Public and Environment Affairs, Carbon Disclosure Project, China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC), Walmart Global Sourcing Columbia University, and Euan Murray and Wei Dong Zhou of The Sustainability Consortium.

Afternoon sessions focused on sustainability policies and standards and good practices in business sustainability. Representatives from the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Centre of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China, CCIEE, CEC, and Tianjin Green Supply Chain Service Center presented on the Collaboration Network for the Asia-Pacific Green Supply Chain, sustainability management and measurement, sustainability reporting, and applying green supply chain management to promote comprehensive greening. Representatives from Walmart, Lenovo, and UL shared international and domestic best practices in sustainability for businesses. The forum closed with participants working in small groups to discuss and develop action plans, which were then presented to the forum attendees.

Click here for the complete agenda in English.


Columbia Global Centers | East Asia
Columbia Global Centers | East Asia, launched in March 2009, is one of eight Global Centers established by Columbia University operating around the world to connect the university’s faculty and students with the thinking communities in the regions working on global issues.. The Center’s projects aim to engage the University with issues, ideas and counterparts in China and the East Asia region through collaborations across a number of fields, including sustainable development, urbanization, urban health, international relations and global governance, gender equality, educational reform, social media, public health, and arts. globalcenters.columbia.edu/Beijing /

Earth Institute, Columbia University
The Earth Institute is a new form of academic institution designed to institutionalize interaction among many academic fields and professional disciplines to address the problems of global sustainability. With Columbia University as its foundation, the Earth Institute draws upon the scientific rigor and academic leadership for which the University is known to create an inter-disciplinary community dedicated to cutting-edge research to help develop solutions to the challenges to global sustainability.
The Earth Institute Research Program on Sustainability Management and Policy provides a rigorous analytic base to help inform sustainability decision-making. Leveraging the diverse subject matter expertise from the research centers, faculty, and students at the Earth Institute and Columbia University, the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management addresses the fundamental issues facing professionals and policy makers implementing sustainability strategies. earth.columbia.edu

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC)
The Sustainability Consortium® (TSC®) is a global nonprofit organization working at the intersection of science and business to enable the consumer goods industry to develop, produce and sell more sustainable products. TSC creates tools, strategies and services that are based in science, informed by stakeholders and focused on impact across the entire lifecycle of consumer products, including environmental, social and economic imperatives. The Sustainability Consortium is comprised of more than 100 members, including manufacturers, retailers, NGOs, civil society and corporations that work collaboratively on innovation for a new generation of products and supply networks. The Sustainability Consortium is jointly administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas, with additional operations at Wageningen UR in the Netherlands and Nanjing University in China.