On June 30th, one of the key events of the 17th EU – CHINA Business & Technology Cooperation Fair, the conference ‘The Transition towards Carbon Neutrality – The European Companies’ Contributions’ was held as scheduled at the European Center in Chengdu.
The second session of the conference was a panel discussion with representatives from ENI, Saint-Gobain, Siemens, Bureau Veritas, Novozymes and UNDP, hosted by Mr. Massimo Bagnasco, CEO of China Euro Carbon Neutral, which reviewed and analyzed the solutions and lessons learned by European enterprises in the process of carbon-neutral transition, aiming to provide best practices for the future carbon-neutral transition of Chinese enterprises. The discussion was vivid and with active contribution also by the audience with several questions to the panelists. Below a brief report of some of the topics touched along the panel.
The first contribution, given by Mr. Di Giovanni, Executive Vice President of ENI Group and Chairman of the Board Directors in China, for the carbon neutral transformation of enterprises is to let enterprises have a comprehensive understanding of what carbon neutrality is through a wide and deep learning process At the early stage of the transformation, many people only consider carbon neutrality as energy saving or another way to talk about green energy. In the context of today’s CBAM mechanism is on the verge of becoming a reality, improve the enterprises’ own cognition of carbon neutrality is going to be the first challenge.
Mr. Weber, CEO of Saint-Goban in Asia Pacific, pointed out that for enterprises to achieve a reduction in carbon footprint emissions, and even to achieve zero carbon footprint emissions, an upfront investment in costs will certainly be another challenge. In order to ‘absorb’ these costs, it is essential to cultivate awareness of the market and customers, as well as strong financial instruments. The biggest difference between carbon neutrality and the past practices of energy saving, emission reduction and green energy is that carbon neutrality emphasizes not only the environmental impact of enterprises in a certain process, while the entire production, storage, sales, and even after-sales process.
Mrs. Han Jing, Senior Vice President of Bureau Veritas in Greater China and Northeast Asia, pointed out that because the scope of carbon neutrality is very wide, a systematic and quantitative standard becomes necessary. Record and compare carbon emissions generated in different stages in a systematic and quantitative way, can help enterprises better understand the concept of carbon footprint, scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
The General Manager of Siemens Building Products Division (West Area), Mr. He Donglin, mentioned that by customizing the production process, optimizing the production efficiency and supply chain, enterprises, that have production lines, can actually reduce the carbon emission result. For the new facilities or the renovation of the existing facilities, the use of intelligent IoT hardware, can provides data for calculating actual carbon emission generated by the facility then help to design a more efficient operation plan.
Mr. Li Hao, Sustainability Manager of Novozymes (China), cited China’s energy distribution as an example. For a country with such a large population and industrial capacity, the need for energy diversification is inevitable. There were some voices back then suggesting shutting down all thermal power plants in order to be ‘greener’, which is way too extreme and will not actually do any help to the process of transiting to carbon neutral. Once you shuttled down all thermal powerplants, overall carbon footprint will not magically vanish because eventually, you will build other facilities to make up the shortage caused by the shutdown, then there might be even more carbon emissions due to the teardown of old facilities and the construction of the new ones. On top of it, any policies or decisions with such radical methods will create a negative impact on society, which is not a positive force when transiting to carbon neutrality. Then learning lesson is then that for every matter is necessary to have a progressive implementation along a suitable period of time.
Mrs. Di Canossa, Head of the Research and Policy Center of the United Nations Development Programme in China, stated that a platform for exchange and dialogue such as this conference are very important to promote the exchange of experiences and methods to reach carbon neutrality among governments and enterprises from different countries and regions. Under the premise that carbon neutrality is a major trend nowadays, it is extremely beneficial to raise the awareness of carbon neutrality among stakeholders through exchanges. Stronger policy support from the government is also one of the important factors to promote the carbon neutral transformation of enterprises.
At the end of the panel discussion, the moderator, Mr. Massimo Bagnasco, emphasized that both Europe and China are facing the challenge of carbon neutrality, and it is a challenge that impacts every industry and sectors, which makes impossible to find a universal solution to this challenge. However, the core of the approaches used by different companies to turn this challenge into an opportunity is similar, which is why there will be a lot of exchanges and cooperation between Europe and China in the field of carbon neutrality. He also underlined as the speakers, representing leading worldwide multinational corporations, said that the path towards carbon neutrality brings concrete opportunities for economic development then also opportunities for their companies to have further investments in new area of China where new consolidated markets are raising up.
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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.