China is similarly challenged. Approximately 300 million people nationwide have no access to clean water. Furthermore, more than 700 million Chinese drink water that is below World Health Organization standards. According to the Water Environment Partnership in Asia, almost all of the nation’s rivers are polluted and 90 percent of urban water bodies are severely polluted.
The new criteria for knowledge-driven offshoring will be skills, talent availability, productivity, and sustainable working environments rather than labor cost advantages and massive worker pools. A more refined and sophisticated use of broader metrics will be necessary for companies to reach informed offshoring location decisions focused on sustainability. In a world of choice, this approach will surely make smaller, high-quality countries more attractive destinations.
- Kevin D. Stringer is a visiting professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management and a lecturer at the Swiss Finance Institute. He was formerly responsible for the development of offshoring strategy at UBS.