As part of the exhibition a discussion forum held at the event features key players in the ceramics manufacturing industry discussing ways and means to incorporate further green technologies into production whilst paying more attention to the carbon footprint generated.
This is a key time in the market to generate more awareness of sustainable issues as consumers become less price and more quality conscious. Some manufacturers had been paying a good deal of attention to moving to more sustainable means of production over the last 7 years and were now seeing the benefits with heightened profitability, market image and product differentiation. Sustainability affords companies many opportunities to demonstrate market leadership and superior product placement.
One of the interesting things to come out of my discussions was the significant gap in appreciation of what makes a 'green product' between the general population in China when compared with that of the developed world.
I was introduced to many 'green products' being "natural" or "good for health" or "simple and pure” in concept. This is the fundamental requirement of green. There is little or no awareness of a 'carbon footprint' 'embodied energy' 'environmental impacts’ or 'life cycle analysis' from either producers or consumers.
Many "green products" I was confronted with were natural but irreplaceable, required large quantities of energy and water in production and were transported across the globe.
Chinese people pay significant importance to health and wellness in their life choices and product purchasing is no different with consumers being wiling to pay a premium for 'healthy' goods. However some of these healthy goods are being produced at an unhealthy environmental cost. More education is urgent and essential if China is to move towards more sustainable growth.