Need to know about the benefit of the coronavirus for Asia? The sustainability journey of China has been one of ‘two steps forward, one step back.’ While lauded for the progress it has made in areas like renewable energy and poverty alleviation, the developmental pathway of China has been riddled with challenges.
The country may be famous for ‘China speed,’ but when it comes to realizing its ambitious development targets, the size and complexity of China can mean change doesn’t come quickly.
Perhaps, such as the ‘airpocalyptic’ days before the authorities scrambled to manage air pollution, what China requires is a shock to the system, a motive that forces fast action.
COVID-19 – The Wake-Up Call For China
The impact of the coronavirus disorder, which has transformed China’s vibrant cities into ghost towns immediately, is currently being felt worldwide, with supply chains disrupted for everything from iPhones to vehicles.
Already supposed to have a more severe impact than the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, China is currently treading a fine line between managing a potentially fatal health epidemic, and maintaining its economy afloat.
But while the industrial world scrambles to work out how to keep working without the most significant manufacturing market, some positive signs have been rising for the sustainability community. Here are six:
1. China’s War On Wildlife Trade May Be Taken Seriously
China’s recent statement to fast-track a ban on the trade and consumption of wildlife was a direct consequence of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Though the directive is temporary, the gravity of this virus has shown a spotlight on the wildlife trade of China, raising questions about morality and the risks of wildlife consumption. On China’s heavily censored social networking platforms, a discourse on the wildlife trade is allowing for more civic society voices to be heard.
Such bans have never been proven to work. And while China struggles to impose limitations on the wildlife trade scrutiny may allow for China’s centuries-old customs for exotic medicines to finally be debunked. As the WildAid advertisement goes: When the buying stops, the killing can too.
2. The Future of Telecommuting Could Allow Increased Work Flexibility Throughout The Country
While the trend for remote working has increased recently, it has been concentrated in a few sectors. The protracted lockdown period, now impacting 500 million people in 48 cities, has unwittingly pushed many Chinese enterprises to rethink how they work while remaining productive.
On a broader scale, the move to greater use of teleconferencing and video can help companies examine their travel policies. This not only helps save in time and prices, the frequently ignored Scope 3 carbon footprint targets under the popular GHG Protocol greenhouse gas management instrument, might no longer be as evasive as they seem.
3. A Sickly Healthcare Sector Could Be Given A New Lease Of Life
This virus has revealed the shortcomings of the healthcare system of China at a time when baby boomers are entering their retirement years.
Despite the media excitement around China’s capacity to construct two clinics in ten days, the state-run healthcare industry of China has suffered from a lack of resources, particularly in the rural states. Standard hardware versus software problem on the surface smothers a systemic issue of inefficiency and inequality that run deep in the veins of a resource-intensive industry.
As Wuhan, the epicenter of this COVID-19 outbreak proceeds to deal with an increasing number of cases week after week, seriously overworked medical staff employees are being recognized as heroes from China and around the world. This will shine a light on the need for engagement with nurses and physicians throughout the public health services of China. Feedback from healthcare workers won’t just help to better their working conditions and interests, it’ll be a crucial source of ideas for how to improve the system.
4. An Increase Strategising China’s Traditional Philanthropy Practices
China’s roots in conventional philanthropy may have been the basis of many organizations today, but imperative giving beyond cash donations has been slow.
Traditional forms of philanthropy could be useful but are unfocused and diffused. Strategic corporate giving, closely tied to the well-thought-out business, aims to make sure that contributions reflect the values of the organization, deploy funds more effectively.
In the case of the COVID-19 outbreak, technology giants Alibaba and JD.com not only doubled down on their tech capabilities to make sure communities received their much-needed food and health supplies, but they also declared hiring 20,000 additional employees to support those whose jobs were affected by the virus.
5. Prioritizing An Overlooked Issue: Supply Chain Resilience
A research by Harvard Business Review discovered that 60 percent of the 779 readers surveyed informed that poor visibility of who they do trade with is a significant source of risk. Shocks like disease outbreaks and natural disasters expose international companies to vulnerabilities in their supply chains. And the results of business continuity can be punishing.
China’s Market is 16 percent of global GDP. Its electronics market accounts for 28 percent of the industry worldwide, while its share of the worldwide textile industry is 40 percent. Suffice to say that when China gets a cold, the rest of the world sneezes.
This current epidemic is very likely to result in organizations taking a more proactive strategy to control risks in their supply chains. Recognizing areas of vulnerability and assuring possible disruptions are dealt with promptly will be taken more seriously in boardrooms.
6. COVID-19: Was It A Chinese Virus?
Maybe the most important lesson now interpreting is one of human empathy. Previous virus disorders that have emerged from different regions of earth may have triggered related fears of provincial ethnic associations — Ebola from Africa, or MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in the Middle East.
COVID-19’s origin from a town in central China has increased fears of xenophobia and racism around the globe. The viral nature of the coronavirus story may have led to sentiments of hostility and fear, but in many ways, it has enabled greater public discourse. Such communications will allow us as individuals to reflect on our own unconscious prejudices.
When China’s experts identified the genetic sequencing of the novel coronavirus back in January 2020, they published it online without delay. Very swiftly, scientists across the world got cracking on developing much-needed test-kits and a vaccine.
Such global collaboration wants companies and governments to work together toward one goal. This should be the biggest lesson for all of us.