China, a country with spectacular economic growth - averaging almost 10 per cent a year over the past quarter century - faces enormous environmental challenges.

Issues range from energy and water scarcity to air pollution and soil erosion. The continuing growth needed to satisfy the aspirations of its 1.3 billion people and the trend of multi-national companies moving their production facilities to China pose a serious threat to the environment. Due to the scale of their environmental impact, the consequences are felt worldwide.

After research and consultation with academics and business executives in China, the WBCSD’s Young Managers Team 2004 China work stream concluded that the key to a sustainable China is raising awareness through education. Working through the newly founded China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD), which brings together Chinese companies and international firms operating in the country, the Young Managers developed a resource kit on sustainable development.

This flexible package of materials can be used by: universities and business schools, academic forums, company training workshops and executive seminars. The main messages of the learning module are why sustainability should matter to the business world in China and what individual managers can do specifically in the Chinese context. The YMT group presented the module in a series of train-the-trainer sessions with participants from the CBCSD, the Chinese branch of the student-organization AIESEC, and the Hong Kong Business Environmental Council. With these materials, the team aims to plant a sustainability seed in the minds of China’s current and future business leaders through continuous dissemination across the country.