Meet Mr. Browaeys, a China veteran with a wealth of experience in environmental and carbon management. Since 2004, he has been Chairman of the Environmental and Carbon Working Groups of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. His impressive resume1 includes various C-level roles in Fortune 500 American, European, and Chinese corporations, primarily in the energy, chemical, and pharmaceutical sectors.
As an accomplished angel investor, founder, and strategic partner, Mr. Browaeys has built strong partnerships and developed cutting-edge communication platforms in renewable energy, environmental management, and agriculture. One of his recent achievements is the opening of the TusPark Brussels Innovation Center, which is part of a global network with 400 Technology Innovation Centers.
Currently, Mr. Browaeys holds several advisory positions in companies that use his Collaborative Systemic Innovation™ approach. He designed this approach to help businesses in Europe and China grow rapidly and expand collaboratively. As a result, he is a sought-after expert for Tech-related enterprises that need hands-on guidance in the Chinese market.
Mr. Browaeys holds Master degrees in Environmental Engineering and Policy as well as Chemistry, Microbiology and Genetic Engineering from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.
If you could choose one topic out of the impressive experiences in the decarbonisation mission which one would you pick?
As a sustainable pioneer, I combine the experience of large corporations with the dynamic energy of startups. I believe in the power of collaboration and have spent the past 30 years building a network of trusted business partners. Through my work with the European Chamber, I have collaborated with various stakeholders from both Europe and China, bridging the gap between east and west.
Decarbonization requires a collaborative approach that is multi-disciplinary, holistic, and even multicultural. My passion is to bring people together and inspire them to achieve the systemic innovation needed to create a carbon-friendly socioeconomic model. As a member of a mixed Chinese-European family, my mission is to contribute to a balanced world where east and west complement each other like yin and yang. We only have one planet and must work together to protect it.
What do you feel is your main contribution to the urgently needed worldwide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions?
I can help companies in China and Europe reduce their scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by providing a full range of strategic, digital, and engineering resources. I am happy to contribute these resources to the CNEUCN network. In China, I work with Shanghai Greenment Environmental Technology Co., Ltd2, one of the largest independent environmental engineering companies in the country. Together, we developed a Supply Chain ESG Performance improvement approach that covers environmental safety & occupational health management, environmental engineering, soil and groundwater remediation, brownfield redevelopment, and Environmental Impact Assessment.
I also work with Gelan Digital Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd.3, a data tech company. Together, we developed Insblue™, a digital SaaS platform that helps companies improve their ESG performance and drive scope 3 decarbonization across their supply chains. The platform allows for online engagement with suppliers and even verification and certification of decarbonization programs. It is used by both corporations and investors to manage and mitigate risks.
In Europe, I work with Pulsar Power4, a highly specialized engineering company that focuses on scope 1 and 2 decarbonization and energy transition. Together, we developed Gridhive™, a holistic solution that combines electrical and financial engineering with high-tech solutions such as digital twins and machine learning. Gridhive enables companies to project different business cases for energy transition and decarbonization and to de-risk investment. It optimizes returns on renewable energy assets such as solar, wind, energy storage, EV charging, industrial flexibility, and returns from interacting real-time with energy markets.
最后，我和我的商业伙伴Rob Gierke一同建立了Debarbon Supply Chains (DSG)5，一个独立的供应链脱碳生态系统，欧洲公司可以利用它来实现其中国供应链的脱碳（范围3）。该系统使欧洲的公司能够直接在线利用中国的数字化环境和碳数据。在欧洲跨境调整机制（CBAM）和企业可持续发展报告指令（CSRD）的背景下，这已经变得至关重要。
With my business partner Rob Gierke, I also set up DSC5, an independent Supply Chain Decarbonisation Ecosystem that European companies can use to decarbonize their Chinese supply chains (scope 3). The system enables companies in Europe to tap directly into China’s digitized environmental and carbon data online. This has become critical in the context of the European Cross-Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
On the academic level, I contributed through articles and white papers about China’s green and digital transformation, China’s sustainable agriculture, and China-Europe collaboration for decarbonization. I often give workshops on these topics.
Q: 根据您的经验，中国要实现 “双碳”目标，必须面对哪些主要挑战？
According to your experience which one are the main challenges China must face to reach its “dual carbon goal”?
This is a complex issue that affects not just China, but the entire world. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has used up all the resources needed to live sustainably for a year. Last year, it fell on July 28th. From that day on, we began to take an unsustainable toll on our planet. And each year, Earth Overshoot Day is coming earlier.
China is growing quickly and its carbon emissions are rising. The challenge of meeting its dual carbon goal is shared by many developing countries: emissions will increase before they peak as living standards rise. But global growth has already exceeded our planet’s capacity. We are rapidly using up resources and causing irreversible damage.
When we look at carbon emissions per person, we see that more developed often means higher emissions. China has a chance to make a big change by modernizing its cities and industries in a way that keeps its per capita carbon emissions much lower than those of developed countries.
By doing this, China could create new low-carbon models for society and the economy. These models could help developed countries reduce their emissions even further and faster. They could also help other developing regions follow in China’s footsteps towards a more sustainable future.
China and Europe have a long history of close and fruitful cooperation about climate change and environmental protection issues. Which are the more specific strengths of China and Europe, respectively on the decarbonization path?
I believe that working together through Collaborative Systemic Innovation™ is key for China and Europe to reach carbon neutrality. Both sides have something valuable to offer.
Europe has many technologies for reducing carbon emissions that could be scaled up and accelerated in China with the right support. China’s 5-year plans provide detailed information about the solutions that local governments will support. But few European companies understand this and need guidance. They also need access to trusted partners in China who are part of the local business community. This is the best way to support and protect them. That’s why I’ve built my own network and believe that CNEUCN can be a valuable ecosystem to work with.
Europe also has strong pharmaceutical and chemical expertise that can help improve living standards in China’s developing regions. China has a wealth of data and recent experience building modern cities, which can help Europe modernize its older cities. China also has cutting-edge technology in a number of industries such as renewable energy and electrification, including electrical grids, solar power, batteries, and electric vehicles.
I’ve developed a Collaborative Systemic Innovation™ approach that parties can use to find and achieve successful business cooperation and quickly scale up their business (“Game Change”).
More specifically, in your sector of competence, which mechanisms and actions could be implemented to create virtuous synergies between China and Europe for carbon neutrality?
As Barbara Pongratz from MERICS pointed out in a recent article, “China is taking a strategic, long-term approach to policy planning as it moves towards a decarbonized economy. By considering a full life-cycle carbon footprint tracking system, Beijing is thinking even further ahead than the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). As the international trading system slowly goes green, Beijing is exploring and developing its own policies for foreign trade, green tech trade, and foreign climate policy.”
No single organization can solve the challenges of regulation and sustainability alone. One major issue that limits transparency and progress in ESG and carbon performance is the lack of standardized communication between supply chain actors. Powerful companies often require their suppliers to use proprietary customer portals, which means that customers must adapt to different standards and formats for each portal. Supply chain platform providers standardize communication for companies, but they are centrally organized, proprietary, and have limited reach.
理想的解决方案是一个全球性的、分散的、开放的网络，所有的公司都可以无缝地分享ESG和碳数据。就好比互联网：打开一个浏览器，就可以访问一切，而不必担心接口或数据结构等等问题。我们需要一个 “可持续性数据的互联网”。在欧洲，有一些群体正在努力实现这一目标。各个公司正在联合起来，组成财团、网络和协会，以创建像BCSD PACT、Estainium、Catena-X和Cofinity-X这样的解决方案。
The ideal solution would be a global, decentralized, open network where all companies could seamlessly share ESG and carbon data. Think of the Internet: you choose a browser and can access everything without worrying about interfaces or data structures. We need an “Internet of sustainability data.” And there are initiatives in Europe working towards this goal. Companies are joining forces in consortia, networks, and associations to create solutions like BCSD PACT, Estainium, Catena-X, and Cofinity-X.
By connecting Europe and China – allowing European initiatives to tap into some of China’s online platforms that I mentioned above, that have access to a wealth of digital environmental data – both regions could close the loop and leapfrog together towards zero-carbon products.
Carbon neutrality is a target which requires a holistic approach and integrated actions by all the stakeholders. Not only should it tackle technical issues, but also new economic development model and social aspects. China Europe Carbon Neutral initiative by its Scientific Committee & Expert Advisory Board aims to be a platform to gather these expertise then share potential solution. Which advice and proposals do you feel to share for both its development and operation?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m excited to bring my network to the CNEUCN platform and serve as a point of contact in Europe for anyone in China looking to establish a presence in Europe, as well as for any European company seeking hands-on support in China.
In March 2020, China announced that it would use digitization as part of its Covid recovery strategy. Over the past few years, almost the entire Chinese industrial value chain has been digitized and data management has been centralized. This has created a wealth of big data that is available for researchers and industry to use for good purposes. One great example is the global collaboration around the City Carbon Quotient that I recently saw on the CNEUCN network. It made me very excited about the potential to speed up global decarbonization at a socio-economic level.
I believe that China will take a two-pronged approach to collaborating with the outside world. Within China, it will stick closely to its own characteristics because it feels that the outside world may not understand China easily. Europe has had strong opinions about China and understandably wants reciprocity. To achieve this within China, it will be necessary to understand Chinese society. At the same time, China is opening its borders in reverse by exporting technology. Its technologies are quickly being embraced by other developing regions of the world. But for Europe to embrace China’s technology, China will also need to better understand Europe. It’s like Yin and Yang.
With true Collaborative Systemic Innovation™, we can leapfrog global decarbonization.
 Johnny Browaeys’ public profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnnybrowaeys/
 Shanghai Greenment Environmental Technology – http://greenment.net/
 Gelan Digital Technology (Beijing) – https://www.insblue.com.cn/
 Pulsar Power – https://www.pulsarpower.eu/services.
 Decarb Supply Chains (DSC) – https://decarbsupplychains.global/
 Article in EUROBIZ on China’s Green Manufacturing System – https://www.eurobiz.com.cn/china-leapfrogging-to-a-circular-economy/
 Article in GREENBIZ US about China’s green and digital strategy – https://www.greenbiz.com/article/green-and-digital-chinese-recipe-global-economic-competitiveness
 Article in EUROBIZ about China’s leapfrog in digitizing agriculture – https://www.eurobiz.com.cn/chinas-agriculture/
 Article in EUROBIZ about Europe’s opportunity to help China decarbonize – https://www.eurobiz.com.cn/what-if/
 White Paper on the Internet of Sustainability – https://drive.google.com/file/d/19ylLNM1swAbmx9rBTAF6h1ma7hECfXP5/view?usp=sharing
 Webinar on the Internet of Sustainability – https://www.eusmecentre.org.cn/publications/chinas-environmental-blueprint-opportunities-for-european-smes/
如想了解更多信息和更多详情，请联系: [email protected]
For more information and further details please write to: [email protected]
China Europe Carbon Neutral Technology aims to support and substantially contribute to China’s path towards carbon neutrality in a holistic and inclusive way by gathering all the stakeholders and creating solutions for each challenge.
China Europe Carbon Neutral Technology will play an active and innovative role in providing services to conceive, shape, design and accomplish the transitions needed to achieve carbon neutrality.