In January, we welcome Haoyue Zheng and Adit Rastogi of oikos Suzhou to our monthly segment. They shared how oikos Suzhou came to life, what sustainability challenges are prevalent in their region and how their oikos chapter tackles existing problems.
Haoyue Zheng, President, oikos Suzhou
“Doing well by doing good” – I heard these words from my professor. It made me wonder if businesses today follows this message, so I started investigating more about sustainability issues. During this time, I realized that profit should not be the only goal for corporations to chase after. I learned about companies that give back to society because of their internal moral and ethical convictions, then there are those that have faced a number of scandals for doing just the opposite. When I realized that many of my fellow students did not share the same concern, I knew it was time to act and spread the word about ethics and sustainability in business. Thus, I decided to start the oikos chapter in Suzhou, first one in China.
Waste management has been a growing problem in China, especially plastic pollution. Learning from oikos chapters around the world has convinced me that we can replicate some of the solutions in Suzhou as well. It is a challenging task; however, I have already managed to find passionate students to join this movement. The quote “Doing well by doing good” by my professor Dr. Xuanwei Cao, has since then stuck with me, now with a group of other motivated oikos Suzhou members, we can bring the change and make our campus, and city, as sustainable as it can be.
Adit Rastogi, Vice President, oikos Suzhou
Climate change, responsible leadership, transition to the circular economy, these are just some of the many problems that the world faces right now be it in Asia, Europe, or Americas. China’s meteoric industrial rise has had several environmental impacts. Suzhou, SIP in particular faces an uphill task in terms of recycling, responsible consumer behavior and last but not least there is a pressing need for spreading awareness on sustainability issues.
For years I have been trying to urge people about environmental problems, unfortunately often they avoid having this type of conversations. Working towards sustainability alone is not easy. So, the oikos chapter in Suzhou, gave us a platform to bring like-minded people together. We are pioneering the recycling of plastic waste on our campus and have ambitious plans for 2019. More and more people are joining the movement on the XJTLU campus and we truly believe we will remodel the circular economy here. We need to realize that giving people information on their own environmental footprint is empowering them. A lot of changes in Suzhou can be made by engaging with the local community.