On the 5th of June 2019, ISET and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Under the scope of this MoU, new courses will be offered as part of ISET’s Bachelors and Master’s Programs; in the former, a course in environmental economics and circular economy will be offered as an elective, while for the latter, a course in environmental economics by Prof. Hans Wiesmeth will be available. These courses will equip students with the needed skills and knowledge to analyze environmental challenges from an economic perspective and offer policy solutions.

The course at the BA level will focus on the economic theory behind environmental economics, as well as show the student’s capabilities for introducing circularity in economic activities. It will also show the students how economic theory can be used for environmental stewardship. Furthermore, it will help them understand the entrepreneurial opportunities that can arise within the different value chains of a circular economy. This is referred to as environmental entrepreneurship in modern literature.

Currently, Chinese cities have a 25% share of the world’s municipal solid waste, where the majority of this waste constitutes organic waste. The Chinese Academy of Science and the World Wild Fund states that restaurants and schools are wasting about 33 % of the food they serve. China is using multiple strategies to deal with the issue: municipal landfills, incineration plants where the waste is burned and transformed into electricity (although this is facing difficulties due to moisture content), feeding leftovers to animals (but due to the risk of spreading pathogenic microorganisms, several Chinese municipalities banned this century-old practice) and transforming food in an anaerobic digestion process, thus producing biogas (but this is heavily underrepresented as practice). However, due to the large amounts of waste, China is looking to use a less traditional strategy in the form of cockroaches, an idea that has been piloted in the city of Jinan, inhabited by 9 million people. This “small” (at least in Chinese terms) city is contributing to the country’s waste problem with 6,000 tons of solid waste each day, and about 50-70 % of this is food waste.

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