Too Much Stuff, Too Little Water
by China Water Risk 13 August, 2015
Many of us lead a throw-away, fast-moving lifestyle from fast food to fast fashion at cheap prices. Convenience is prioritised: we can even now shop from our homes. Aside from making more waste, we are also using stuff faster than the rate it can be supplied, be it naturally grown, man-made or recycled, threatening the sustainability of not just our planet but businesses. This month we reviewed 10 top fashion brands from fast fashion to luxury groups – how do they fare in sustainability? Two of them H&M & Kering have themselves identified upstream exposure to raw material risks but are yet to “walk the talk”. Dawn McGregor mulls over how serious they are. China is a big market for luxury brands but given the rise of the ‘new Chinese consumer’ for more green products, corporates may need to change their strategy say Hart, Zhong et al. from Renmin University in their new study. Elsewhere in Hong Kong, despite mounting plastic waste and lack of landfill space, Civic Exchange’s Mandy Lao expands on why convenience still drives Hong Kong’s thirst for bottled water. Can we have less waste and more food? Feng Hu contemplates how food waste from farm to fork in China can help meet future food demand – there maybe opportunities in logistics and storage as China moves to save grains in order to save water & energy with its new plans. Other plans to save water are afoot from agriculture to measures to address fake/tampered data; waste is also not to be tolerated with VAT on waste & wastewater. A glance at this month’s tapping in column shows China in a water-savings mode. It may be prudent for companies making stuff to follow suit. They can start by disclosing on water, as CDP’s Morgan Gillespy says their report found potentially inadequate water risk assessments by Chinese companies. With the ‘National Mid-to-Long Term Plan for Water Demand & Supply’ passing internal review since our last newsletter, business need to pay more attention to how much water they use as future allocation of water may differ. Can we still make/use so much stuff? Join us in Stockholm to discuss – “Rethinking Water for Growth: Balancing trade, resource allocation & economy”.
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