Similarly China’s plastic manufacturing sector employs 2.6 million workers and generated a total export value of US $14.40 billion in 2009. China’s packaging market is the largest in the world and is predicted to grow to $97bn per annum by 2012 (Wood 2010). Food packaging alone accounts for 50% of the total demand for packaging, with volume growth of more than 20% being common in most food sectors. It is a similar story for China’s footwear industry, with the total export value hitting US$24b in 2009. With these high-volume production and consumption in China, it is not surprising that the country is equally witnessing unsustainable development and waste generation (Hu & Lee 2010; World Bank 2013). According to the World Bank (2013) study, China’s development model is based on high and intensive resource utilisation in production which is occasioned by equally high wastage and pollution. The need to move away from waste to wealth as well as towards the sustainability of China’s development is the primary motivation for this study. As demonstrated above, the five industries within manufacturing sectors selected for this study are automotive, electronics, food packaging, plastic and footwear. These industries played and continue to play major roles in China’s development. Identifying key RL implementation factors and prioritising them to make these firms aware of the key issues is critical to their sustainability and, by extension, the overall development of the nation.
4. Research methodology