Green initiatives present partnership opportunities for Chinese and U.S. enterprises
China and the U.S. assume critical roles in steering global efforts toward sustainable development
By Zhang Shasha  ·  2024-02-06  ·   Source: NO.8 FEBRUARY 22, 2024
Model wind turbines photographed at the China Pavilion during the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on December 6, 2023 (XINHUA)

Green to Green, Green to Grow, Green to Great—these are the core tenets driving the sustainable development of JA Solar, a global photovoltaic (PV) power generation solution provider based in China. The "3Gs" embody the company's commitment to promoting the circular economy, fostering green development and paving the way for a sustainable future.

"Proposed in 2022, the '3Gs' concept offers a universally understandable perspective among both Chinese and international audiences," JA Solar's Sustainable Development Officer Li Jing said at a recent seminar in Beijing.

"In earlier times, when we introduced our industry, products and PV conversion rates on the international stage, it was incomprehensible to many people," Li said. "Currently, green development has become a universal goal and there has been a framework for international dialogue on related issues across industries."

On January 19, the China International Youth Exchange Center and the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China) co-hosted the seminar, aiming to provide a platform for Chinese and U.S. enterprises like JA Solar to enhance mutual understanding, exchange green development ideas and discuss efforts to unleash cooperation potential.

"China and the U.S., as major greenhouse gas emitters, assume critical roles in steering global efforts toward sustainable development," Zhang Hua, Director of the China International Youth Exchange Center, said at the event.

He stressed that forming a pragmatic cooperation mechanism for Chinese and American enterprises to drive action on emission reduction not only adds stability and certainty to bilateral relations, but also contributes to the development of global climate governance.

"I'm very proud of what many of our member companies do in terms of how they treat the people and how they treat the environment. And it's important that we can find ways where our two countries can work together and lead the world with examples of how we can cooperate on green development," Michael Hart, President of AmCham China, said at the seminar.

"It is our hope that both parties will seize the new opportunities arising from the latest meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco and the Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis," Hart added.

'3Gs' plus '3Cs'

Last November, prior to the Xi-Biden summit, China and the U.S. released the Sunnylands Statement, reaffirming their commitment to working jointly, and together with other countries, in response to climate change.

On January 12, the two countries operationalized their Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action, which was initiated to implement the consensus reached between the two heads of state at their San Francisco meeting and strengthen bilateral cooperation for related purposes. They agreed to continue to maintain close communication, conduct exchanges, learn from each other and deepen practical cooperation under the working group mechanism in accordance with the consensus enshrined in the Sunnylands Statement.

"The initiation of the working group sends a crucial signal for China-U.S.

climate cooperation," Chen Zhihua, Deputy Director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, said at the seminar.

Despite differences in national circumstances, China and the U.S. share a common direction and abundant opportunities for collaboration in addressing climate change, according to Chen.

In 2023, JA Solar launched its first manufacturing facility in the U.S. in Phoenix, Arizona. Once it's fully operational, the $60-million plant will produce high-performance PV products with an annual capacity of 2 gigawatts and is expected to create over 600 local jobs.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs said the facility has the potential to enhance the state's clean energy reputation. Yang Aiqing, President of JA Solar, said it allows the company to offer customers in the U.S. the flexibility and ease of access to its high-performance PV products.

Echoing JA Solar's "3Gs", Tony Bao, Director of Public Affairs in China for U.S. multinational food manufacturer Mars, proposed "3Cs" at the seminar—connect, cooperate and create.

To promote collaboration between Chinese and U.S. enterprises, "it's essential to connect, engage in dialogue and understand what each other is doing," he said. "The seminar provides us with an excellent platform for this purpose."

With mutual understanding, companies can collaborate and then, with all stakeholders working together, they can collectively build a better planet, he continued.

In 2023, Mars announced to increase its sustainability spending to $2.7 billion over the next three years. And all of the company's China-based factories are working on various projects to achieve sustainable development, offering new possibilities for a green supply chain and the creation of a sustainable business ecosystem.

Bao said the initiation of the government-level climate action working group is also good news for the business community. He expressed his hope for future exchanges with representatives from Chinese enterprises to enhance the possibility of cooperation across industries, fostering a joint effort to address climate challenges.

"China's ambitious carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals have generated significant growth momentum in green transformation. Coupled with its vast market, this will provide extensive opportunities for the development and collaboration of Chinese and U.S. enterprises," Chen said.

A greener planet

According to former Chinese Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua, the global trend of green and low-carbon transformation established by the Paris Agreement is irreversible. Currently, 149 governments representing 88 percent of global emissions, 92 percent of global GDP and 89 percent of the global population have pledged to reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

"Reaching such goals can spur new technologies and business models, creating a vast green market and unleashing powerful new drivers for economic growth," Chen said.

The Paris Agreement, signed in December 2015 by 195 countries, sets out a global framework to keep global average temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, and if possible, below 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to estimates by related UN agencies, achieving the goals requires an investment of nearly $100 trillion worldwide. In 2022, the global investment in clean energy reached over $1.7 trillion, surpassing $1 trillion annually for nine consecutive years.

Nowadays, major countries are all innovating toward a green and low-carbon transformation, seizing the strategic high ground in the revolution of low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies and industrial change, Chen said.

Chen called on Chinese and American enterprises to align with the global trend of low-carbon transformation, set appropriate goals and explore business models conducive to tackling climate change. It is essential to increase investment in key sectors, intensify efforts in technological research, and innovate green products and services to contribute to global sustainable development, he said. BR

(Print Edition: Sustainable Synergy)

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

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