Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 1- The GreenTree Hotel and Green SMEs

I took the train from Qingdao to Beijing, leaving at 10:27AM and arriving just after the scheduled time of 4PM. From there, I took Line 4 and Line 13 to an area of Beijing know for its universities. I saw, from the window of Line 13, the GreenTree Hotel so I decided to walk there, but they could not find my name on the reservations' list. I was starting to get worried when they told me that there are 17 GreenTree Hotels in the city. I got into a cab and 21RMB later (and a couple of phone calls from the cabby to the concierge) found myself at the right place around 6PM. I am rooming with a man from Barcelona.

There are three people, who will join as soon as possible, stranded in Shanghai due to a typhoon. My friends from work, Jason and Dom, are in the Philippines. This weather is scary. It is pouring in Changchun again, but here it is nice weather, relatively (relative humidity is 85% or so).

The people who have arrived include a girl named Alice (my li'l sis' name) from Australia; two smiley boys with the map of Ireland on their face, to whom I awkwardly announced that I had been reading William Butler Yeats on the train; a sharp fellow from South Africa, who has been in Beijing for six months learning Chinese; an analyst for Shell of French origin and a male classmate of hers from France, as well; a Dutchman; an East Indian from London; and a Chinese woman from Dalian, who seems very educated and well-connected.

After a nice welcome dinner, we headed to a Beijing Energy Network BEER event where a gentleman reported on the Impact Report of Green Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). It was a first of its kind attempt to explore and develop a methodology to evaluate the business, environmental and social performance of green SMEs in seven green sectors and evaluate the contribution that green SMEs have made to China’s economic transformation. It also highlights the challenges to the development of green SMEs and discovers their needs as well as explores different ways in which SMEs can realize “environmentally friendly” and “resource-saving” development.
The report is based on the Impact Performance Indicators System developed for SMEs in China, jointly developed by New Ventures Global (part of WRI), the Institute for Environment and Development, and the Information Center of MIT. 
One of the companies (aka SMEs), named Landwasher, has created a new waterless flush toilet that allows rural villages in China to use the by-product (aka night spoil or humanure) to fertilize their crops. While most of these toilets are probably not replacing toilets that do use water, the claim is that if the 10,000 that they have in the market were each used 100 times per day, there would be 1.64 million tons of water saved annually.

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