July 16, 2015
For the summer of 2015, seven undergraduate students and one recent graduate began a public policy research Metcalf Internships at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing, with a focus on environmental governance. On July 14, as part of their field research, the team visited the headquarters of Beijing-based Shougang Group, one of China’s leading steel firms. Although still headquartered in Beijing, the firm ended all industrial operations in the city at the end of 2010 due to concerns over pollution. The visit thus offered insight into China’s environmental turn.
One noteworthy takeaway was Shougang’s recent expansion into environmental businesses, particularly in the areas of waste treatment and waste-to-energy plants. As the steel industry has slumped, these new forays have allowed Shougang to profitably diversify its business portfolio.
The trip ended with a tour of Shougang’s construction-waste treatment center (pictured), in which materials from demolished buildings are sorted and recycled for future use. The team witnessed concrete being refined into sand of varying fineness, to be used in a range of applications, including road-building and brick-making.
Following the Shougang visit, the team also has plans to visit Zhangjiakou in Hebei province and Baiyangdian Lake, as well as several Beijing-based NGOs.