A growing number of Erb Institute faculty members and students are building relationships with businesses and organizations in China. Erb Director Thomas Lyon shared insights from his China trip in his July 16 blog in FastCompany.com. He noted that although Chinese enthusiasm for sustainability doesn’t appear to be driven by green values at times, there is nevertheless “an ever-present concern with image–especially maintaining an image that will guarantee a good relationship with governments, at both local and national levels.”

At the Erb-sponsored Michigan-China Clean Tech Symposium, leading practitioners and researchers covered topics ranging from sustainable city infrastructure to policy.

Speakers included GIGA’s Ryan Dick who spoke about Chinese urbanization trends, Professor C. S. Kiang , Chair, Beijing University Environment Fund & Director, US China Long Term Low Carbon City Initiative, and Peggy Liu, Founder of the Joint US China Collaboration on Clean Energy (JUCCE).

Other valuable insights into China’s commitment to a green future can be inferred from a growing body of projects and research including an ongoing year-long project on how to facilitate an influx of Chinese investment in cleantech research at U.S. Universities.  Erb MBA/MS student project team members (Cameron Smith, Martha Campbell and Cynthia Shih) are examining the structure of relevant licensing and funding models, the incentives for University partnering with private investors, and the types of collaborative processes and innovations that might spark large-scale behavior change.  Additional information about the U.S.-China Joint IP Research Project is available from OnGreen.

Other Examples include:

  • Cynthia Koenig, ’11, and Aparna Sundaram, ’09, worked with Institute Managing Director Rick Bunch and colleague Jacob park of Green Mountain College on a case study that examined China’s Mobile Green Action Plan, an environmental strategy to reduce the firm’s energy consumption.
  • Tina Tam, ’11, interned in Beijing’s Microcarbon Foundation Renewal Energy Project to reduce carbon emissions at the household level.
  • Yih-Wei Chien and Emily Dwinnels, both ’12, spent weeks in Shanghai studying China’s green building sector for their MBA Action Project.
  • Economist and former Erb Post-doc Haitao Yin is now an assistant professor of business economics at the Antai College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research interest lies in the intersection of business strategy and public policy, primarily in the field of environmental policy and corporate environment management.