A regular day in Shanghai

Now that I’ve been in Shanghai for a bit over a week, I’m slowly getting into a daily routine. Today was a good example.

This week I’ve started my mornings at the Dutch consulate in the city as I’m preparing some work for them which is part of a larger CSR project to support Dutch companies in improving CSR throughout their supply chain. Wednesday, and then next week, will be particularly busy with this work when I will be talking to Dutch businesses about the issues that are difficult to manage for them in their supply chain. So, my mornings are spent preparing these interviews, discussing the objectives of the project and how they can best be met.

For lunch, I met with a Dutch acquaintance who has been working here locally in the CSR field. We’ve met a few times and today we caught up on what both of us are working on and had an interesting discussion on how increased transparancy can help improve responsible business practices in the textile industry. It makes sense, of course, but how do you entice companies to be open and transparent about where and how they source their products?

In true Dutch fashion, I was given a lift on the back of a bicycle to my next meeting at LOHAUS, a co-working location in central Shanghai that I’d got in contact with via the people of GreenDrinks. LOHAUS stands for Loft on Health and Urban Sustainability. It is a relatively new location, started 7 months ago, and aims to bring together independent professionals in the city working on sustainability in some way. They organize events, host meetings, and offer flexible workspace for professionals working in this or related fields. The space is located in a beautiful building, with what looks like a good choice of drinks and some food, and with lots of green plants and interesting art around which makes it seem a very nice location to work at. I hope to be back there behind my laptop one of these days as well.

From there, straight to my daily Chinese class: every day from 3-5pm I spend practicing my Chinese with a private teacher. I’m learning a lot and I feel like I’m quickly progressing – but getting back outside, stepping into the real world always causes a bit of a disappointment when once again my taxi driver can’t quite make out where it is I want to go to. Oh well, one day…

Several people had warned me that Shanghai in January would be cold. I’ve only visited at other times of the year, but I shrugged at these warnings: the Netherlands is cold as well. What I didn’t realize is that Shanghai is pretty much cold everywhere. Cold outside is fine, as long as I can warm up inside. With the old houses here, the limited heating and badly insulated houses I’m always cold, no matter where I am. So what better way to end the day than with a large bowl of hot noodles… Yumm.

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