by China Water Risk 13 May, 2014
We want responsible and efficient use of water in China. We think our “wish” has a chance of coming true. It was not so long ago that naming a philanthropic water initiative “China Water Risk” was considered risky branding. Now everyone is talking about “sensitive issues”. Even statistics on soil pollution previously classified as “state secret” have finally been made public. Yes, the UGH factor we alluded to in last month’s newsletter on heavy metals & agriculture is now official – almost a fifth of China’s arable land is contaminated. Yet, there are reasons to remain optimistic; Debra Tan shares with us five reasons while Gao Shengda, Secretary of the China Environmental Remediation Association, tells us why cleaning up dirty soil is not an easy task. Given the public spotlight on pollution, reputational risk is at an all-time high. Edelman’s Ashley Hegland explains why there may be no choice but to tackle water issues head on while H&M shares the challenges they face in implementing water stewardship initiatives one year on. Transparency appears to be the weapon of choice of local officials, who are using Weibo/WeChat to announce the suspension of drinking water supply to China’s largest chicken farmer giving consumers access to every step of its supply chain via their smartphones. But water woes are not China’s alone. They have geopolitical implications that could destabilise Asia’s economy. Check out our key takeaways from AIDF’s Asia Water Security Summit and read why Lisa Genasci, CEO of ADM Capital Foundation, thinks Asia needs to step up with innovative ideas in philanthropy to tackle issues that could possibly derail the region.
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