China is at an important fork in the road. The fast economic growth of the last three decades is also giving way to increased attention to the challenges of resource security, environmental safety and social inequalities.
The Chinese leadership is shifting its focus from speed to the quality of economic growth. China tops the world in energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and release of major air and water pollutants. Environmental costs were recently estimated at close to 10 percent of GDP. And China is one of the countries in which inequality is rising fastest. A rapidly aging population combined with slowing economic growth will make inequality more challenging than ever to redress.
The decisions and actions taken in China will shape the future of sustainability globally, both through the planetary scale of China’s environmental footprint and because China is the world’s largest laboratory for solutions to global sustainable development challenges. By establishing an institutional presence in China, we aim to support the country on its path towards sustainable growth, drawing best experience from other countries and learning from China’s experiences to benefit others.
As an independent global research organization dedicated to meeting the most serious and pressing sustainability challenges of our time, WRI is deeply committed to accompanying China on its sustainable development journey. And it is well positioned to do so with impact. WRI now has thriving programs on water, climate, food, forests, energy and sustainable cities, as well as blossoming partnerships with central and local government agencies and leading Chinese research institutes. With a consistent record of analytical excellence based on best-in-class quality assurance procedures for our publications, we have gained the trust of key decision-makers. WRI draws on vast intellectual and analytical resources: our work builds on three decades of experience working with governments, businesses, and inter-governmental and non-governmental stakeholders around the world to advance transformative solutions at the frontier of sustainable development. We have a particularly strong track record for delivering game-changing solutions with partners in developing and emerging economies.