Importance of Asia
Asia is the most important region of our world for achieving global well-being. One reason is simply the region we call Asia is where most of us live. That has implications for both consumption and creativity.
The Asia-Pacific region requires about 40% of the world’s bio-productive capacity. China is the second greatest consumer in the world, using up 15% of the world’s total bio-capacity (although per capita basis it is 69th position in the world). China currently needs an equivalent land area of two China’s to meet its needs and absorb its waste. If it were to follow USA’s example, where the pro capita requirement is equivalent to 10 hectares, it would require the world’s entire bio-capacity.22 Decisions made today about infrastructure and other aspects of economic development will determine the environmental demands and impacts of societies in Asia for decades to come.
In being so populous, Asia is also home to diverse societies, each with their own creativity and technological prowess. The challenges of resource scarcity, ecological degradation, climate change, as well as social challenges of non communicable and infectious disease, mean that we need to draw upon the ingenuity of all the world’s peoples. Commercially, Asia is no longer simply a region where resources and human labour can be sourced more cheaply than elsewhere. Instead, it is a place where engineers, scientists, programmers, and entrepreneurs are pushing the boundaries of their professions.
Another reason for the importance of Asia to global well-being, arises from its reach around the world. Companies from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, are investing in business across the world, in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as the West. For example, bilateral trade between China and Africa exceeded US$100 billion in 2008 (see Beyond the Western financial crisis). This trade and investment presents many opportunities for everyone concerned, but also problems in terms of negative impacts on certain stakeholders and the environment, as we discuss next.
(The references are available in the pdf download and hard copy versions of this annual review, available from Lifeworth’s bookstore.)
This section can be referenced as:
Bendell, J., and C Ng, ‘Introduction’, in J. Bendell, N. Alam, S. Lin, C. Ng, L. Rimando, C. Veuthey, B. Wettstein (2009) The Eastern Turn in Responsible Enterprise: A Yearly Review of Corporate Responsibility from Lifeworth, Lifeworth: Manila, Philippines. (Page numbers for this section are available in the pdf download and hardcopy.)