Business / Events

Better environment rests with China's companies

By He Yini ( Updated: 2013-07-05 17:17

As China is scrambling to dispel the pollution and smog that has plagued most of its cities this year while seeking a greener path amid economic restructuring and urbanization, hopes are now pinned on the country's companies to help ease concerns.

"Companies should and can be the key bearer of China's green and low-carbon development, not just because they are big emitters but they are major performers of R&D and have high-tech applications in this field," said Liu Yanhua, former vice-minister of the Science and Technology Ministry.

Better environment rests with China's companies
The 6th WEC Presidium and High-level Consultative Meeting, initiated by the UN Industrial Development Organization and the International Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Association (IEEPA), was held in Beijing on June 30, 2013. [Photo by He Yini /]

According to Liu, as much as 70 percent of the country's yearly emissions are generated from companies during production and operation.

China's coal consumption reached 3.62 billion tons in 2012, with carbon emissions taking up more than 60 percent of the global total increase in the same year, Liu added, citing statistics from the International Energy Agency.

The country has stepped up its efforts to curb carbon emissions in the past few years, calling for environment-friendly innovations and higher energy efficiency while deliberating on new regulations with ever-harsher punishment against polluters in the country.

"Pain would be inevitable for companies in the process of green transformation. But it's worthwhile in the longer run," said Liu, in a keynote speech during the Presidium and High-level Consultative Meeting on June 30 in preparation for the 6th World Environmental Conference due in November.

In recent years an increasing number of Chinese companies have been engaged in energy conservation and mitigating green-house gas emissions, in a bid to achieve future sustainable growth.

"Low-carbon development entails a green shift of all links in the industrial chain. And that's how we balance short-term benefits and long-term growth," said Zhang Jianqiu, chief executive officer of Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group.

Yili, China's second-largest dairy giant in terms of revenue, raked in 30 million yuan ($4.89 million) in energy-saving profits in 2012 alone, as the company adopted more than 300 micro and small innovations during its low-carbon campaign.

The company was recognized as the best low-carbon performer at the Third International Carbon-Value Awards initiated by the UN Industrial Development Organization and the International Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Association, or IEEPA.

Another award-winner was Lenovo Group, the world's second-largest PC vendor which overtook US-based Hewlett-Packard in the third quarter of last year.

The company's Vice-President Du Jianhua said that Lenovo has been striving to reduce the energy consumption of their products while using renewable energy to ride the wave of green and low-carbon development.

"We expect to sell 50 to 60 million PCs this year, and that will translate to huge amounts of energy consumption," said Du. "That's why we are determined to cut down the energy consumption of each new product by at least 5 percent."

The green trend is irreversible, yet the road ahead is bumpy. "We have to subject the companies as the major economic players to market forces and let the fittest survive," said He Keng, former deputy head of the National Bureau of Statistics.

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