Shanghai, global investors confident about ecological development

China Daily Global Updated:2022-11-15

Plan by municipal government said city to see total value of low-carbon industry exceed 500 billion yuan by 2025

Shanghai's commitment to promoting green and low-carbon development is being received by global investors, with enterprises saying they are confident about a greener future for the city and keen to leverage their expertise to contribute to its sustainable development.

Over the last few years, Shanghai has been injecting vitality to its green and low-carbon sector by continuously introducing new mechanisms, blueprints and policies as part of China's dual carbon goals, which are to achieve peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, all in the transition to a green economy.

An action plan released by the municipal government in early July said Shanghai would see the total value of its green and low-carbon industry exceed 500 billion yuan ($68.94 billion) by 2025.

Contributing to green future

Companies over the years from sectors of chemicals, painting and coating, pharmaceuticals and urban planning in Shanghai have attached greater significance to green and low-carbon development, increasing their investment to contribute to sustainable development.

German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, which has a production facility in Zhangjiang in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, recently attained carbon neutral certification from the Guangzhou Emission Exchange and TUV Rheinland, making it the first carbon neutral plant in China's pharmaceutical industry to be certified by both domestic and foreign authorities.

Sherwin-Williams, a global player in the manufacture, development, distribution and sales of paint, coatings and related products, has been launching new projects and creating partnerships.

"Our energy-efficient architectural coating solutions have already been adopted by some 40 construction projects with a total space of approximately 2 million square meters in Shanghai," said Jason Wu, president of Sherwin-Williams Asia.

Wu said the 40 projects in Shanghai can cut 9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity consumption and 2,800 metric tons of carbon emissions a year.

Apart from introducing new projects, Sherwin-Williams also established a partnership with Tongji University in Shanghai to launch testing of new products in cities around China. The company is also keen to expand partnerships in the country.

"Sherwin-Williams has long-standing and amicable partnerships with the local authorities and relevant stakeholders. As our company is committed to further development in China, we believe such partnerships would keep on growing," Wu said.

Sherwin-Williams rolled out its Sustainability by Design program in 2021 across the enterprise to integrate sustainability into its innovation and product development processes, he said.

"Through the implementation of the Sustainability by Design program, we are enhancing the sustainability profile of our paints and coatings, while meeting the strict performance criteria expected by our industry-leading products. Its cornerstones are innovation and continuous improvement," Wu said.

Sherwin-Williams said it will remain committed to the Shanghai market and expand its operations around China.

"Sherwin-Williams regards Shanghai as a major bridgehead to spearhead its growth not only in China but also the entire Asia region," said Wu. "Our pursuit of excellence in sustainability has received great support from the relevant authorities in Shanghai. Their vision and open-mindedness supports Sherwin-Williams' pursuit of developing energy-efficient coatings solutions for local customers."

Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has also been a longtime supporter of the circular economy of Shanghai by operating its remanufacturing plant in the city.

Caterpillar landed its only remanufacturing facility in China in the Lin-gang Special Area of Shanghai in 2005. The company said the facility remanufactures a wide range of products, including hydraulics, engine components and fuel system products.

Each used product is disassembled, cleaned, inspected, salvaged and remanufactured to original factory specifications. Using 100 percent original equipment manufacturer parts, Caterpillar's remanufactured products provide like-new quality and performance with the same warranty as new equipment.

"Our global customers rely on Cat Reman components. The benefits provided in terms of cost-effectiveness, reliability, and sustainability are critical for our customers. Through remanufacturing, we are also able to make one of the greatest contributions to sustainable development — keeping valuable resources in circulation for multiple lives, which also supports China's circular economy.

"In the context of China's efforts in driving sustainability, the remanufacturing industry will play a meaningful role in resources and energy savings, and environmental stewardship, while bolstering manufacturing upgrades and economic transformation," said Chen Qihua, senior vice-president at Caterpillar.

Chen said the Shanghai government's support for the remanufacturing industry strongly backs the company's business.

"We will continue to advocate with the government to further promote remanufactured products and raise public and social awareness of the benefits that remanufactured products bring to businesses and the environment," Chen said. "We continue to evolve — adapting smarter, more efficient processes and applying state-of-the-art technologies."

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator, launched in September 2021 a pilot trading of green power between corporate consumers and renewable energy generators.

German specialty chemicals company Evonik has actively supported the green electricity trade in China to strengthen its sustainable development in the country. Evonik said it has purchased 20,160 megawatt-hours of green power and obtained certificates for 68,000 MWh of green power.

At the fifth China International Import Expo, Evonik introduced a series of innovative, eco-friendly and sustainable solutions tailored for local market needs. It also released a report to showcase its sustainability practices and achievements in China.

Evonik said it plans to reduce 25 percent of the Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which refer to direct greenhouse emissions that occur from sources and indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy from a utility provider, by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. To this end, the company is taking actions to reduce its carbon footprint in production. A number of pilot projects are underway in China, including digital energy management system, Greenhouse Gas Reduction Assessment Program and the application of renewable electricity.

"We are dedicated to developing products with a clear sustainability profile, optimizing the production management and bringing a positive effect to the value chain," said Chen Jinqiu, senior vice-president of operations and site management at Evonik Greater China.

To facilitate the establishment of new business activities in China, Evonik embarked on the construction of a multiuser site in Shanghai Chemical Industry Park in 2004.

All users can benefit from the leading technology, equipment and joint infrastructure facilities on-site to realize cost control, productivity improvement, energy saving and emissions reduction, which fully reflects sustainable development of integrated management.

Sustainable urbanization

The concept of sustainable development is not just being promoted in the industrial sector but also in urbanization. The city has been attracting an increasing number of leading urban planners to support its green shift.

Arup, a global collective of designers, consultants and experts dedicated to sustainable development, started working in Shanghai in 1984 and has long been inspired by its efforts in promoting sustainable urban development.

Penny Cheung, director of Arup in China, said sustainable development is central to everything Arup does, aiming to create a sustainable future for all. Arup's multidisciplinary services have facilitated urban renewal and transformation in the city.

For example, Arup worked with Expo Shanghai Group to launch the pioneer low-carbon planning guide for all post-expo developments and redevelop the Urban Best Practice Area at the former site of Shanghai Expo 2010 into a worldwide showcase of low-carbon and eco-friendly cultural development.

Arup's holistic approach achieved a balance between preserving the site's historical charms and welding together modern elements to create a vibrant community.

Combining with a climate resilience approach, Arup also completed a citywide wastewater network review project for the Shanghai government and provided climate risk assessment and solutions for numerous development and investment projects in Shanghai.

"For over 30 years, we have witnessed and participated in most of the city's strategic district and economic developments. From the rise of the city skyline to the expansion of urban clusters and to the digital transformation of the city, we established solid relationships with the city and local communities. We shall be committed to applying our expertise in driving the sustainable development of Shanghai," Cheung said.

In 2020, Arup launched a three-year global strategy centering on sustainable development, which aims to position the company to have a more positive effect on the built-up environment. Cheung said that China's dual carbon goals and the pandemic both emphasize the necessity of enhancing urban resilience and combating climate change.

"Collaborating with our clients and partners, we will continue to foster the resilient and sustainable development in the Chinese market by our forward-looking design and quality delivery across the urban environment and building industry," Cheung said.

Solid progress

The 2022 International Business Leaders' Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai forum, an annual pageant that has served as a conduit for communication between international businesses and Shanghai's mayors since 1989, is centered on promoting green, low-carbon development and urban sustainability.

It was attended by 40 senior executives from 16 countries and regions. The forum, which has tackled different topics over the last 33 years, signaled Shanghai's resolve in its green journey.

The Green and Low-Carbon Industrial Alliance was established on Nov 7 to promote the green development of Shanghai. The alliance will promote industrial scale enhancement, innovation and new technology applications.

It was formed by enterprises and universities, such as China Energy Engineering Corporation, East China University of Science and Technology and Shanghai Xuhui Urban Construction Investment.

Zhang Wei, Shanghai's vice-mayor, said that apart from developing professional platforms for technological consultation, equipment manufacturing and investment and operations, Shanghai also hopes the alliance will focus on low-carbon industries such as new energy and green construction materials, as well as innovation and applications to serve China's dual carbon goals.