Write for China Dialogue

Join China Dialogue’s palm oil team at the RSPO in Malaysia and write for us

China Dialogue is offering three grants for reporters to cover the RSPO Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil 2022 (RT2022) from November 27th – December 1st 2022 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Successful candidates will contribute to a team report on the conference, participate in our workshop on palm oil reporting and join us on a field trip. You will also have the opportunity to develop and produce a longer term feature that will be published on China Dialogue’s website in 2023.

China Dialogue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2006 and based in London and Beijing with a network of reporters around the world. China Dialogue identifies, promotes and supports the unique voices that increase understanding, share experiences and inspire a higher awareness of the planet’s challenges, whether they come from inside China or elsewhere. We are devoted to making such voices heard by a global audience, in a lively, convincing and multilingual fashion. It is our hope that in doing so, we can move closer to viable, equitable and real solutions to environmental problems.

China Dialogue has been covering palm oil in-depth, with a dedicated editorial team, for the past three years, with support from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The first two years introduced our readers to the wider environmental impacts of palm oil, the key producers and consumer markets, new frontiers and the challenges of producing palm oil sustainably. The second phase of the project is focusing more on social justice and human stories within the supply chain, as well as examining the latest science and technological innovation and palm oil’s role within wider commodity supply chains.

During the RSPO conference, you will be required to:

  • Attend daily team briefings
  • Set up interviews and make contacts
  • Participate in social media promotion
  • Contribute to a team story on the conference
  • Gather material to support a longer term palm oil story with us

Successful applicants will have their expenses covered by China Dialogue, including travel (international or domestic), accommodation, visas, meals and a field trip.


You must be a print or online experienced journalist within a newsroom – or a freelancer who has a relationship with a publication that will agree to sponsor your accreditation. You must be able to demonstrate you have previously covered environmental issues and possess a fair level of knowledge of the issues and debate surrounding palm oil.

We are particularly interested in reporters from the key producer countries (Indonesia and Malaysia) and markets (India and China) and new frontier countries (Latin America and West Africa).

How to apply

Please submit a CV, at least three examples (PDF or links) of relevant published work, and a letter explaining in no more than 500 words why you would like to attend.

Please also provide a one-A4 page story pitch for an in-depth feature that demonstrates your awareness of topical and regional palm oil stories, and your approach to the reporting.

The story should be a desk-based investigative piece that you are keen to pursue on a global issue; or an in-depth feature on a local issue. Previous examples of these stories are:

Sierra Leone’s conflict palm oil certified as sustainable

San Juan La Noria: the community abandoned to palm oil development

In your pitch, outline what the story is, how it fits into a wider palm oil context, the data required to support it, a list of potential interviews/key players, any multimedia or graphics that could add value, and a timeline of work.

Successful candidates will work with us to further develop this story pitch in the lead-up to the RSPO conference. You would be required to use the RSPO as an opportunity to gather further material for your story, and file it before March 1 2023. You would also be required to work on, make changes to, and support the publication of your story by June 30 2023. We would also ask you to explore opportunities for joint publication/republication with your newsroom. We would offer a commissioning fee and any expenses for your story, which should be no more than 2,500 words.

Email to [email protected] by September 30th 2022

All applications must be submitted in English

China Dialogue publishes in English and Chinese on global environmental issues, with a special focus on China. We publish articles by journalists, academics, experts, policymakers, activists and concerned citizens.

We welcome unsolicited submissions, so if you would like your article to be considered for publication, please contact us at [email protected].

However, first read the following guidelines:

  • Please try to keep your article length to around 1,200 words in English or 2,000 characters in Chinese. China Dialogue publishes high-quality reportage, opinion and analysis pieces, but not academic-length articles.
  • Read the website to familiarise yourself with our style. As well as our feature length articles, China Dialogue publishes book reviews and guest blog posts. Send an email to [email protected] if you are interested in contributing a piece to these sections.
  • Please bear in mind that China Dialogue is read all over the world. When you write your article, think of the reader who may not be familiar with local references and remember to provide a short explanation, or a link to a site where an explanation may be found.
  • Please supply us with further links that provide context, explanation or further reading, but do not include footnotes.
  • Please supply us with a few lines of your own biography.

China Dialogue is seeking pitches for stories from Southeast Asia (including mainland Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines), under the following themes:

– Electric power (renewables and fossil fuels)
– The environmental impacts of agriculture
– Infrastructure and extractives
– Waste and recycling
– Wildlife conservation and protected areas
– Tourism and SEZs
– The environmental and social impacts (positive or negative) of Chinese investment

Particular areas of interest include:

  • Environmental impacts of the Myanmar coup, including energy demand growth, conservation, logging and timber trade;
  • Environmental impacts (positive and negative) of Chinese investment in the Philippines;
  • Impacts of the transition to renewable energy, including extraction of critical minerals, unexpected side-effects of the energy transition, and efforts to mitigate them;
  • Environmental and social impacts of infrastructure mega-projects, from bridges and railways to dams, especially those with Chinese funding;
  • Positive examples of effective biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation, especially those which could be scaled up elsewhere;
  • Plastics and other waste;
  • Environmental impacts, positive and negative, of SEZs, including captive power.

Please email pitches to [email protected].


Get the latest on China and the environment, straight to your inbox Subscribe now