ISSN: 1477965X
First published in 2003
3 issues per volume
Volume 15 Issue 3
Cover Date: December 2017
‘Sustainable’ reframed: How China’s cities and companies are moving from data to decisions, from trees to forests and from pixels to platforms, and how they can play with technologists and data artists
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Authors:  Allegra G. Fonda-Bonardi 
DOI: 10.1386/tear.15.3.297_1

Keywords
ESG,sustainability,China,Big Data,data artist,cities,WeChat,data technology

Abstract
Reframing reveals possibilities. This article highlights how conceptual shifts regarding ‘sustainability’ occurring inside China’s municipalities and major corporations are opening the way for new collaborations with technology companies and technology artists. These shifts – from predetermined accounting to systems thinking – reveal new opportunities to intervene in the biophysical and economic challenges facing China today. In companies, this shift implies placing financially relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors at the core of business strategy. In municipalities, this shift necessitates designing and implementing systems that track ecosystem services rather than simply stocks of natural resources and recognizing interdependencies between these services and economic development. This article suggests that this sustainability reframing can draw heavily on systems thinking from environmental science, technology companies’ drive to develop products that meet these emerging demands, corporations’ need to compete in an uncertain developing market and the reframing skills of artists, particularly digital artists. This article concludes with opportunities for digital artists to intervene and collaborate with sustainability practitioners to open new directions for cities and companies in China.
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