I live, work, and write sustainable development by offering professional services to leading organizations to achieve sustainable and competitive results.
I work around the world and especially in China and the Pacific Rim. With my network of trusted collaborators, I help international organizations understand local Asian contexts. I provide services to Chinese companies and organizations to help them navigate the complex world they encounter as China goes global, so China’s rise can deliver more sustainable, stable, and engaged operations abroad, integrating the concerns of stakeholders, as well as social, economic, and environmental considerations.
I currently collaborate with and for a wide range of groups and individuals, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the ISEAL Alliance, DotEco, and many others. From 2007 to 2010, I acted as China Representative for the international nonprofit AccountAbility, working with government, corporate, and civil society stakeholders on sustainable development policy, standards, and services. Since 2006, I have worked with Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute in China and the United States. Before that, I collaborated with a number of grass-roots civil society organizations. These experiences have helped me understand organizational sustainability concerns from the grassroots level to the board level.
My areas of expertise include:
- understanding and making breakthroughs in complex issues through stakeholder engagement;
- solving collective action problems through high-level, inclusive, off-the-record convenings or roundtables;
- advising on corporate social responsibility strategy;
- understanding the use of international voluntary sustainability standards (certification systems, codes of conducts, accreditation, etc) to enhance competitiveness, sustainability, and supply chain management;
- navigating the “too big to know” world of the “radical transparency” of sustainability-related big data;
- advising organizations (private sector, public sector, and civil society) on governance, sustainable trade, labor issues, and sustainable procurement.
My higher education was at the University of Michigan, where I majored in history and American culture. I received my Master’s in International and Pacific Affairs at the University of California San Diego’s graduate school of International Relations and Pacific Studies. While at UC San Diego, I also attended Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management, focusing on the development of civil society in China. I speak, read, and write fluent Mandarin Chinese. I also speak, read, and write intermediate Spanish and elementary Thai.
My works have appeared in compilations, books, encyclopedias, and publications like the Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, Fortune China, the Guardian UK, ChinaDialogue, others. I speak frequently on issues related to my interests in international civil society, sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, conscientious consumerism, and the guqin (the Chinese zither). I have spoken at the Ross School of Business’s Asia Business Conference, the Harvard Asia Business Conference, the ISEAL Alliance Annual Conference, and dozens of fora across China involving issues of corporate responsibility, competitiveness, sustainable trade, and voluntary sustainability standards.
At a personal level, I am motivated by the understanding that existing governance systems are inadequate for maintaining a just and sustainable globalized economy, so I devote myself to developing accountable, fair, and stable rules of the game that can help build a world worth living for; I have come to understand — and wish to share — insights into how resolving social issues, and environmental problems, and conflict can be good for individuals, organizations, companies, and the planet. I set out from my home in rural United States at a young age to seek adventure, opportunity, and happiness. I now find most of those things almost every day.
I began focusing my attention on the Pacific region in 2002. In 2002, I moved to China as an English teacher in rural Qingdao where I picked up the hobby of learning Chinese. I am now based in Thailand, where I study Thai, write, consult, and cultivate an urban micro-garden.
I like to tell people that I pursue Confucian-style “moral self-cultivation” through yoga, meditation, gardening, guqin practice, and values-aligned work — which is more or less the truth. I try to be honest with myself and others, which starts on this page by not writing my “about” page in the third person.
I am at your service. Please get in touch.
You can reach me at: joshua [at] joshuawickerham *dot* com.
Thank you for stopping by!