SABIC Holds The Fifth ‘Lights Of Our Future’ Sustainable Design Competition & Shanghai Plant Open-To-Public Day

SABIC, a global leader in diversified chemicals, today successfully co-hosted the fifth ‘Lights of Our Future’ Sustainable Design Competition in Shanghai as part of its commitment to supporting the development of sustainability related education in China. The program was organized in collaboration with JA China, a non-profit organization that specializes in student education in work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.

The ‘Lights of Our Future’ Sustainable Design Competition is an extension of the ‘JA-Lights of Our Future’ program, initiated and sponsored by SABIC. The program aims to inspire creative and innovative thinking among students on environmental topics, while encouraging young people to engage in sustainability related topics. With a continued focus on the design of urban public spaces, this year’s competition encouraged students to apply their classroom based knowledge to create innovative and feasible sustainable urban renovation plans for areas including community spaces, schools, and public transportation hubs.

Building on the successful implementation of the competition and courses in previous years, this year’s competition attracted twelve teams from seven schools in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area, Jing’an, Jiading, Baoshan, Minhang, and Putuo districts. More than 120 guests and participants, including students, teachers, representatives of the local community government, and SABIC employee volunteers, took part in the event at the SABIC Shanghai Plant. Several guests also delivered speeches prior to the competition to motivate participating teams. Among those giving speeches were representative from Economic Development Division of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Administration; Li Lei, SABIC Vice President and Regional Head for Greater China and Chairman of the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers (AICM); Cui Gang, Head of the SABIC Shanghai Plant; and Judy Wu, Senior Director of Program and Development at JA China.

“As a chemical company with global scale, SABIC has always been active in promoting sustainability in China, while continuing to expand our business here,” said Li Lei. “Through a series of global programs such as ‘Lights of Our Future’, our aim is to support education on sustainability topics and help develop a sustainable mindset together with related knowledge and skills among the young generation. In the future, SABIC will continue to focus on the Chinese market while expanding our partnerships with all sectors of society to develop more and better models of cooperation that will enable us to ultimately contribute to China’s sustainable and high-quality development.”

“As a topic that is closely linked with the quality of our living environments and our quality of life, sustainable urban development is something that requires participation from all people,” said Judy Wu. “This year, the ‘Lights of Our Future’ competition is focusing on the design of sustainable urban public spaces and aims to enhance student awareness and participation in urban development issues. We are very grateful to SABIC for its continued support of the project. Education requires long-term investment from all levels of society, and JA China hopes to join hands with more partners to make positive contributions to cultivating the character, creativity, and leadership of China’s youth.”

During the competition, contestants presented their innovative designs for sustainable urban public spaces. The panel of judges, comprised of representatives from SABIC and JA, and education experts evaluated the proposals against a set of comprehensive criteria assessing their environmental, economic, social benefits, as well as their enforceability and on-site demonstrations. The judges ultimately awarded the top prize to the student team of Shanghai Jiading No.2 Experimental High School which presented the School Playground Renovation Project. Ms. Guo Rong, the school teacher, said, “Lights of Our Future program curriculum and teaching methodology are very effective in cultivating students’ understanding of sustainable development. SABIC volunteers guided students to identify real community problems and come up with solutions using the full life cycle and design thinking. Our students improved their creativity, teamwork and communication skills thanks to the competition.”

The final competition was held in conjunction with SABIC’s Open-to-Public Day (OTP) event. Through its long-term support of the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers (AICM) and its OTP initiative, SABIC always aims to improving public awareness towards the chemical industry but also promoting the sustainable development of the industry itself. Following the OTP Day presentation session, SABIC employee volunteers organized a tour for students to visit the production line at the SABIC Shanghai Plants and display spaces. Through visits to the production workshops and laboratories, students were able to experience the sophistication of a modern production line and advanced equipment, and discover more about the role that chemistry plays in the industrial sector. Introductions and guidance from SABIC volunteers also enabled the students to develop a further understanding of topics including the circular economy, energy saving, environmental protection, and design. During the session, students were also given the opportunity to share their own visions for a sustainable future.

The OTP Day at the SABIC Shanghai Plant is part of a series of open-to-public activities carried out by SABIC in 2023. In May this year, SABIC welcomed local students and the public to its Nansha Plant to learn more about sustainability. Since November, the company has also held various open-to-public activities at the SABIC Technology Center in Shanghai and Shanghai Plant, inviting university teachers and students from chemistry-related majors to visit the sites as part of its efforts to strengthen exchanges with teaching institutions.

‘Lights of Our Future’ is a global CSR program initiated and first launched in Asia by SABIC. Through a series of practical activities, including case studies and decision-making simulations, the program, piloting in 2014 in China, aims to enhance awareness around the importance of sustainability among young people and encourage them to adopt a more sustainable mindset. To date, SABIC has engaged around 15,000 Chinese students in the program, and more than 840 SABIC employees have volunteer over 11,000 hours to developing related teaching courses and materials. ‘Lights of Our Future’ represents just one way in which SABIC has been collaborating externally to fulfill its long-term commitment to sustainable development and Responsible Care® in China. By supporting students through Back-to-School program, helping people in urgent needs through humanitarian donations, initiating a series of environmental protection projects, and more, SABIC is bringing its CHEMISTRY THAT MATTERS purpose to life to help build a sustainable future.