March 27, 2007

Review on Seminars

From Tuesday Seminars:

For the seminar topic:
5. To what extend does it make sense to be environmentally friendly?
I have couple of thoughts for the discussion in seminar session.

1. While average people life in modern society is getting longer then before, how can we say the environment is getting worse? For this case, we need to consider about HOW does this long-living age be achieved? Is it natural cause or modern health care under operations and medicines? In fact, new and mutated disease appeared frequently cross the world, for example, in China, new case of oafish infant appears due to their mum lives in just decorated house while pregnant. From investigation, it is caused by toxics decoration material, such as paint. Environment is not actually getting better, people still got harmed from it. Modern medical technology could only save victim (to certain level) but can not prevent it.

2. Focus on earlier education for next generation? It is actually the most important issues need to be done. It changes the mindset of future customers, business owner and shareholder, and will be the best and most effective approach, in long term. What about now?

3. Let us wait for regulation? Actually, regulation will not be that effective. Strict regulation could only be effective under certain point, people will always figure out way to get around it. In order to increase profit, organization will do anything necessary: play the word game, other alternatives, hides to shadow, and use of corruption. Paper shown electronic cars have been invented more than decade ago, mature technology and good performance, economical and environmental friendly. But where are they now? Or maybe ask, Who killed it? Many evidence shown the true reason is from those big organization of oil company and oil export (large oil reserve) countries, if that is the case, even regulation will not work.

Then if this environment issue is so important, why can we only learn (appreciate the real situation) it from disasters to ourselves (sadly, tragedy happen to others normally can not ‘weak up’ people)? I think one big reason is due to the payback to be either environmental Friendly or Harmful to environment is too long to foreseen, most organization is not driven by long term vision. Another reason is the allowance from competition and market is limited, environmental friendly activities do not have much allowance and bad practice still tolerated. In other word, need call for the awareness of general public—customers.

The current solution learned from this seminar: since environmental issues and CSR is part of business excellence, we have to shown that, the investment made to be environmental friendly will be recovered and maximum the profit as the return to be business excellence. Without significant cost and even a sign of increase profit, business organization will only then slowly react and truely become environmental friendly.

ps, suggestion to next year EEE advertisement: ‘Develop Your Intangible Asset!’

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Li, great entry! Some comments from me:

    1. I see the question you’re asking. How can we say things are getting worse in the world when actually the standard of our lives increases more and more? My answer to this is that the factual environmental problems we’re facing are a trade off for the incredibly luxurious and convenient life style we’re maintaining. Every revolutionary medicine might cure one disease, but give rise to ten others. The more we travel around the world the more we pollute the air. The more energy we spend the more effort we will have to put into changing to renewable energy sources as fossil fuels run out. The list virtually endless. Seeing the world as a closed system, for every additional natural resource we “rob” from our mother plant there will be lack of that resource somewhere else. To illustrate what I actually mean by this, go to and do the “Ecological Footprint Quiz”. I am sure it will make you think a lot which is what it did to me and everyone else I know.

    2. I agree with the importance of education on environmental issues to generate the right kind of mindset in early years. However, this is already being done to some extent, and most of us grow up in an idealistic world until we’re teenagers and realise what the world is really doing to the environment. Of course, we want everyone to think and do environmentally friendly things, but to actually have more people of this kind than people who are driven by short-term monetary profit, their ego and a lack of “big picture” is very challenging, if not impossible to achieve. Maybe if everyone in the world watched “An Inconvient Truth”, awareness of these issues would rise.

    3. Regulation is not effective when it comes to mobilising a company for environmental causes, because the company might get annoyed more and more with such regulations and in the end not give a damn about the environment. So, heavy regulation can be counterproductive in terms of increasing awareness of the environmental issues we have. However, just increasing awareness without substantial force behind such initiatives will not do the job either. Take these blogs as an example: Paul increasing our awareness of the existence of these blogs did not make us blog. But him putting marks towards doing so did. And these marks are not additional marks, but actually part of the initial out-of-100 scale. Hence, not getting the blog marks is a punishment for us – the whole of Paul’s “blog writing policy” can be treated as regulation. This is not meant in a negative way. My point is that it works.

    p.s. Good idea for the EEE ad! :-)

    28 Mar 2007, 01:28

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