Shanghai is launching a campaign to encourage Chinese and foreign companies to actively pursue sustainability initiatives, promote China’s sustainability targets, and showcase the city’s achievements in innovation, business environment, and sustainable development.

Under the title Heading Towards 2040: Corporate Innovation and Urban Sustainability, the three-month campaign will accept cases from foreign-investors, private investors, and state-owned enterprises. Those who wish to join are requested to email relevant materials to the campaign organizers, which include The Shanghai Daily, Shanghai Observer of Jiefang Daily, and Winners will be decided jointly by a jury panel and public votes, and the final results will be announced at a summit in September. Jointly sponsored by the Information Office of Shanghai Municipality, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, and Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, three awards will be distributed among the winners of this year’s round: the 2017 Sustainability Best Practice Awards, 2017 Sustainability Influencer Awards, and 2017 Sustainability Communications Awards.


Denys Nehozhai.

The masterplan set out in October 2016 for China’s most populous city tackles population, environment, transport, and public services until 2040. “By 2040, Shanghai aims to become an excellent global city, an international economic, finance, trade, shipping and scientific innovation center, as well as a cultural metropolis,” said Zhuang Shaoqin, director of the city’s planning, land and resources administration in August 2016. “It will become an innovative, humanistic and eco-friendly city.”

However, people are skeptical about the side effects that much of this innovation might have and its possible effect on less fortunate communities. Last December, municipalities responded to complaints filed by residents of the city’s Hongkou district, the densest district in Shanghai, and tore down a number of illegal buildings that have been sheltering both families and businesses for decades. The municipalities replaced this with an “innovative solution” to both beautify the eyesores and create green spaces in the heavily industrial district. Cast out on the streets with nowhere to go in China’s most populous city, disgruntled evictees are still waiting for better compensation to find alternative housing.

Shanghai is not only China’s most populous city; it is also the world’s fifth. Urban planners have planned for the city to house 25 million people by 2040 even though the city was estimated to house a little over 25 million people this year. In 2016, the city’s population was estimated to be 24.15 million, which actually declined 0.4% from 2015. But despite that, experts foresee an overcrowded future for the former “Paris of the Orient.” It is projected that the Chinese city, keeping pace with Beijing, will be home to more than 50 million by 2050 due to the fast-paced rate of urbanization in the region and booming economic growth.