In the second installment of our Balancing Act interview series with corporate sustainability leaders, we asked Steve Peterson, director of sourcing and sustainability at General Mills to discuss how integrating sustainability into their business has changed the company, the industry, and how they are impacted by and responding to environmental issues like resource scarcity.
Nestled in the Yellow Sea just off the Northeast coast of China lies a tiny patch of land called Zhangzi Island. Looking out the window of the ferry boat, the smog from Dalian recedes in the background and for the first time in three days, I see blue sky. The island appears in the distance, peppered with wind turbines and solar panels.
The world has never seen economic growth at a rate currently happening in China. Having surpassed Japan in 2011, it’s quickly become the world’s second largest economy and its GDP continues to expand (though ebbing in recent years).
I’m just back from a 10-day visit to China and can attest to this growth. Industrial cranes fill the skylines from Beijing to Dalian to Wuhan, construction vehicles clog traffic patterns, pollution billows into the air. So much that China is responsible for a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.