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Wat overheden niet lukt, doet de groene energiesector in China en Europa allang

COP26 voorzitter Alok Sharma vocht zaterdag tegen de tranen. Na dagen van slopende en vaak emotionele onderhandelingen voelde hij zich genoodzaakt om de verandering die India op het allerlaatste moment voorstelde te accepteren: De slottekst waar alle 197 deelnemende landen zich aan committeren bevat nu een belofte om het gebruik van steenkool ‘terug te schroeven’. Voorafgaand aan de top in Glasgow had Sharma nu juist het volledig elimineren van steenkoolgebruik als belangrijke prioriteit benoemd. Het is slechts één van de voorbeelden van het gebrek aan ambitie en leiderschap dat prevaleerde tijdens COP26.

Verrassend proactief waren de V.S. en China, ‘s werelds grootste uitstoters van broeikasgassen, die een onderling akkoord uitbrachten om de uitstoot van methaan en het gebruik van steenkool nog dit decennium grondig aan te pakken. Joe Biden en Xi zijn momenteel via Zoom in gesprek om concrete invulling te geven aan de afspraken. Klimaatwatchers zijn echter bang dat de afgesproken maatregelen te vaag blijven. Als dit akkoord tot weinig ambitieuze implementatie leidt, heeft dat desastreuze gevolgen voor de rest van de wereld. Zelfs onze relatief progressieve Europese Unie zal dan niet meer voortrekkersrol op zich willen nemen uit angst voor verplaatsing van onze – toch al noodlijdende – maakeconomie en bijbehorende banen.

De deal tussen de Verenigde Staten en China kwam uit de lucht vallen. Althans, zo leek het voor de rest van de wereld. Frans Timmermans vertelde voor de camera’s dat hij ‘al dagen op de hoogte’ was en het akkoord van harte ondersteunt. Maar Europa was niet aan tafel uitgenodigd voor de meer dan 30-tal gesprekken die in de afgelopen 10 maanden over het akkoord tussen China en de V.S. hebben plaatsgevonden. En daar hebben we een enorme kans laten liggen om de andere grootmachten te dwingen tot ambitie. Laten we er nu dan ook alles aan doen om alsnog een ‘seat at the table’ te krijgen als het gaat om implementatie van de plannen.

Daarbij zal de rol van de groene energiesector cruciaal blijken. Want de moeizame internationale onderhandelingen lopen ver achter bij de praktijk. Waar overheden decennia lang dezelfde onderhandelingen voeren om uiteindelijk waterige akkoorden te bereiken over hoog-over doelstellingen, en waarbij Europa nu wordt buitengesloten door de V.S. en China, werken bedrijven in Europa en China al die jaren al gestaag door om innovatieve oplossingen voor de energietransitie te ontwikkelen. Al decennia lang overbruggen werknemers van energiebedrijven aan beide kanten van de oceaan samen culturele, sociale, geografische en economische geschillen om groene groei te bewerkstelligen.

Succesverhalen zijn er: Zo installeerde het Nederlandse SPT Offshore vorig jaar met een Chinese ontwikkelaar de funderingen voor een 300MW windpark in de Zuid-Chinese zee. Het Franse Air Liquide leverde de technologie voor het grootste hydrogen station ter wereld dat staat in – Beijing. Deze projecten zijn ontstaan door het jarenlang opbouwen van menselijke relaties en vertrouwen. Ondanks onzekere clausules in handelsakkoorden en zorgen om markttoegang en patentbescherming weten deze bedrijven de groene business case te vinden. Deze business case bestaat ondanks – en niet bij gratie van – ingewikkelde politieke onderhandelingen.

Internationaal beleid heeft zeker nog een functie in het creëren van een gelijk speelveld op socio-economisch niveau. De landen die het hardst getroffen worden door klimaatverandering moeten hiervoor gecompenseerd worden. Maar ook dat gaat makkelijker als de huidige grootvervuilers daadwerkelijk geld kunnen verdienen aan groene energie. Waarom zaten de groene energiebedrijven niet aan tafel in Glasgow?

Een pragmatische aanpak die succesvolle private initiatieven volgt en schaalbaar maakt is de sleutel tot concrete oplossingen. Europese en Chinese werknemers kijken al voorbij politieke en culturele geschillen. Laat onze overheden daar van leren. Creëer een wereldwijde business case vanuit bilaterale successen, en maak bilaterale afspraken om handelsbelemmeringen op te heffen. Laat de internationale afspraken de redelijke praktijk volgen. En betrek de groene economie nou eens écht richting COP27.

 

Auteurs:

Stefanie Ros, partner en directeur, Dr2 Consultants Shanghai (woonachtig in New York)

Li-Xiong Chu, senior adviseur, Dr2 Consultants Shanghai (woonachtig in Shanghai)

Tiffany Zhang, adviseur, Dr2 Consultants Shanghai (woonachtig in Shanghai)

 

Achtergrond:

De auteurs werken voor Dr2 Consultants (NL: Dröge & van Drimmelen), een internationaal public affairs bureau met kantoren in Shanghai, New York, Brussel, Kopenhagen en Den Haag dat bedrijven en overheden samenbrengt om de weg naar een duurzame en toekomstbestendige internationale economie te versnellen.

Voorafgaand aan de klimaattop in Glasgow interviewde het wereldwijde Dr2 Consultants netwerk experts die actief zijn op de energietransitie tussen de EU en China. Eén van de vier hoofdconclusies van het onderzoek is dat internationaal beleid de huidige realiteit onvoldoende weerspiegelt, omdat internationale samenwerking in de energietransitie voornamelijk wordt geleid door de private sector en zowel pragmatischer als innovatiever is dan de afspraken die gemaakt worden op fora als COP26.

 

https://dr2.nl/trendrapport-2021-energietransitie-public-affairs/

 

Contact:

Stefanie Ros, s.ros@dr2consultants.eu, +1 646 691 8935

Helping China’s food waste problem

Through the rapid growth and urbanization rate, the amounts of waste are increasingly growing in China. First steps in the classification and sorting of municipal solid waste have been initiated in recent years. This has provided more insights into the troubling situation regarding food waste. Different research indicated that Chinese cities waste 17 to 18 million tonnes of food annually which is enough to feed 30 – 50 million people for a year.

To illustrate, in Shanghai food waste has increased by 27.5% in recent years, which is mainly generated by the catering sector. And even though Shanghai is the first urban city to implement strict sorting policies, there are challenges to overcome. Firstly, insufficient treatment capacity, it is estimated that Shanghai produces more than 9.000 tonnes of food waste daily but the treatment capacity can only handle 5.000 tonnes. Secondly, because of the insufficient quality composition of sorted food waste, using it for composting for example becomes more difficult.

As the priority for China is to become more self-sufficient, dealing with the food waste problem in a sustainable way is key to decrease the immense amounts of food imports for example. A transition to prevention will become increasingly important. The coming years will see more investments in experimenting with new valorization techniques. Finding more efficient and effective ways for the collection & sorting systems, finding new ways to reuse outputs from the existing treatment facilities back into the food chain but also creating new solutions that can deal with the urban-rural context.

Together with colleagues from our headquarters in the Netherlands, Dröge & van Drimmelen, our partners, New Economy, and Acclime, we are working together with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Shanghai, conducting a market study for business opportunities of Dutch enterprises within the Yangtze River Delta. The study is currently being finalized and scheduled to be published in July 2021.

Please contact us at shanghai@dr2consultants.eu if you are interested in knowing more or if you are in relevant food waste fields and would like to be updated and involved in future events regarding combating food waste in China.

e-Waste, a valuable circular mine field for CN-EU collaboration

With volumes increasing with 20% each year, e-waste is now the fastest growing type of waste in the world. China is the distribution center of 70% of global e-waste and a big e-waste production and consumption country. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, China now produces about 2 million tons of e-waste annually. The amount of e-waste from computers, mobile phones, and other electronics is expected to exceed 27 million tons by 2030, growing at an average annual rate of 10.4%. Meanwhile, the value of recyclable metals in the circuit boards of discarded computers and mobile phones will reach 160 billion yuan.

 

What is e-waste?

E-waste is any electrical or electronic equipment that’s been discarded. This includes working and broken items that are thrown in the garbage or donated to a charity reseller. Often, if the item goes unsold in the store, it will be thrown away. E-waste is particularly dangerous due to toxic chemicals that naturally leach from the metals inside when buried.

E-waste covers a variety of different products that are thrown away after use.

Large household appliances, such as washing machines and electric stoves, are the most collected, making up more than half of all collected e-waste. This is followed by IT and telecommunications equipment (laptops, printers), consumer equipment and photovoltaic panels (video cameras, fluorescent lamps) and small household appliances (vacuum cleaners, toasters). All other categories, such as electrical tools and medical devices, together make up just 7.2% of the collected e-waste.

Many people do not dispose of electronics properly and thus, a large portion of electronic device end up in landfills. In 2018, only 20% percent of e-waste worldwide produced was documented, collected, recycled.

 

China’s e-waste market

Current statistics show that Asia produced 24.9 Mt in 2020 and thatChina is the world’s top e-waste producer, having generated 10.1 Mt of e-waste in 2019. China plays a key role in the global EEE industry for two primary reasons: it is the world’s most populous country, so the domestic demand of EEE is very high, and it has a strong EEE manufacturing industry. Additionally, China plays a significant role in the refurbishment, reuse, and recycling of e-waste. Driven by e-waste regulation and the facilities expansion, the formal e-waste recycling industry has shown considerable growth in treatment capacity and quality; more than 70 million e-waste units are dismantled annually . According to the Chinese government, the actual collection and recycling rate is 40%, but it is important to note that this number only refers to 5 EEE products, as opposed to the 54 EEE products (UNU-Keys) listed in the international e-waste classification.

 

Current challenges

The collection and recycling rate drops to 15% if all 54 products are considered. China has national legislation in force that regulates the collection and treatment of fourteen types of e-waste (i.e. five types, initially, and nine more were later added)[1]. However, informal sector activities still co-exist next to this advanced recycling system. Due to the many metals in e-waste, collection, dismantling, and recycling in the informal sector poses health hazards for collectors, children and others living near the activity sites. Fortunately the informal sector has been dramatically declining, due to stricter controls from China’s new environmental law. The illegal importation of e-waste disappears more expeditiously because of the solid waste ban import policy which was implemented in 2018. However, the increasing gap between fund levies and subsidies is imposing distinct challenges for e-waste funding policy. The Chinese Government has set targets of sourcing 20% of raw materials for new electronics products from recycled content and recycling 50% of electronic waste by 2025.

 

Policy measures

Chinese government has issued a number of relevant laws, regulations and technical guidance over the past decade. For example:

  • Catalogue for Managing the Import of Wastes
  • Technical Guidance on Pollution Prevention and Control of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
  • Regulation on Management of Prevention and Control of Pollution from Electronic and Information Products
  • Administrative Measures on Pollution Prevention of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
  • Regulation on Management of the Recycling and Disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

With the support from the government, companies started their e-waste recycling tour in recent years. For example, Aihuishou and Baidu Recycle partnered with e-device producers and retailers to make the recycle more targeted and effective.

Next to this, the Chinese government also collaborates on national and international e-waste projects to help guide e-waste reform. A number of partnerships have established over the past decade, which brings in national and global expertise. So is there room for CN-EU collaboration in e-waste?

 

European policy on e-waste

The European Commission published the Circular Economy Action Plan in March 2020 labelled reducing e-waste as a priority for EU countries. In the European Union, there is a very well-developed compliant e-waste management infrastructure to collect e-waste in shops and municipalities by private operators, as well as to further recover the recyclable components of the collected e-waste and dispose residuals in a compliant and environmentally sound manner. This has been established by the relatively long-running history of EU e-waste legislation since early in 2003. Consequently, statistics show that 59% of the e-waste generated in Northern Europe and 54% of e-waste generated in Western Europe is documented as being formally recycled; the e-waste collection data was reported for 2017. Those are the highest percentages in the world. For the reference year 2019, 85% of e-waste generated, or 65% EEE POM of the three preceding years, has to be collected by a member state of the EU, which indicates that collection and recycling must increase even further to meet the collection targets.

 

Public-private initiatives

Responding to the European policy measures, private initiatives in European member states have emerged which seek public-private cooperation to reach recycling targets. For example in the Netherlands the ‘OPEN Foundation’ (Organization for Producers’ Responsibility for E-Waste Netherlands) has emerged, which is a collective of more than 2.000 producers of white goods, ICT, audio and visual equipment, tools, fixtures and solar panels. The goal of this non-profit foundation is to meet the statutory collection target of 65 percent and to make e-waste circular. The existing innovative strength and collection, sorting and processing activities from the basis for the waste management structure. As per Dutch government decree, the OPEN foundation will take over the implementation of the legal producer responsibility in the Netherlands at the beginning of 2021.

 

Opportunities for CN-EU cooperation

While both public and private organizations on e-waste in both Europe and China have many challenges to address, there is great potential for cooperation from both sides. China’s governmental policy has been quite effective so far, but more cooperation with the private sector is needed to reach targets. European public-private initiatives can serve as an inspiration for similar projects in the Chinese sector. On the other hand, European initiatives can benefit greatly from the measuring and control systems the Chinese government has developed in recent years.

 

Conclusion

If we want to build back better, green and circular should remain a global target. With the newly signed Comprehensive Investment Agreement, China and Europe are very likely to have deeper cooperation on circular economy in the next few years. In this light cooperation on e-waste should be considered for any international projects being initiated, as it is not only a fast growing challenge, but also a source of great potential for both China and Europe.

Would you like to know what opportunities circular economy policy brings to your business in the coming years? In China or in the EU? Please do not hesitate to contact us at: shanghai@dr2consultants.eu. We look forward to discuss how we can leverage opportunity together!

 

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20201208STO93325/e-waste-in-the-eu-facts-and-figures-infographic
  2. https://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/press/1397/chinas-e-waste-worth-23-8-billion-by-2030-2/
  3. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/pdf/leading_way_global_circular_economy.pdf
  4. https://www.ewaste1.com/what-is-e-waste/
  5. https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/assessing-and-improving-the-e-waste-problem-in-china
  6. https://www.statista.com/topics/3409/electronic-waste-worldwide/
  7. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/how-a-circular-approach-can-turn-e-waste-into-a-golden-opportunity/
  8. http://ewastemonitor.info/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/GEM_2020_def_dec_2020-1.pdf

 

[1] The regulated fourteen types of e-waste are: televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, personal computers, range hoods, electric water-heaters, gas waterheaters, fax machines, mobile phones, single-machine telephones, printers, copiers, and monitors.

上海商务委与荷兰政府部门及专家共同寻求应对食物浪费的妙计

应对食物浪费是各国政府一直面临的重大挑战。由于Dr2之前有为政府提供跨国恰接的经验,我们为荷兰基础设施&环境部门和上海商务委员会牵线搭桥组织了一场有关食物浪费等问题的研讨交流会。我们邀请的荷兰专家在荷兰阿姆斯特丹Instock餐厅会面(Instock 是荷兰食物创新企业之一,试图重新构造食物浪费的新格局),并与我们的姐妹公司“Dr2新经济”(专注于可持续和循环经济),共同组织了此次活动。“Dr2新经济”的同事Jonah Link写了一篇有关此次会谈的博客:

中国是世界上最大的垃圾生产国之一。在中国,家庭和公司垃圾的特点是厨房垃圾的比例相对较大,如(烹饪)油和残余的食品元素混合在某种类型的包装。因此,上海市商务委员会前往并收集有关循环经济政策如何刺激荷兰创新的市场解决方案,并从减少和管理食物浪费的模范企业中获得灵感。周一(11月25日),马瑞卡·范·德·沃夫和我,以及我们Dr2咨询上海办事处的Elvis Liang,一起接待了代表团。此次接待和项目都由荷兰政府协助促成。

我们在Instock位于阿姆斯特丹的餐厅,安排了一场由被浪费的食物制作、健康又美味的午餐招待会,参与者包括几位食物浪费管理方面的专家。在此期间, Instock、阿姆斯特丹市政厅、乌特列支大学以及瓦赫宁根大学研究中心为我们带来了精心准备的演讲。以下是一些关键的结论:目前大约有三分之一的食物是被浪费的。如果食物垃圾是阿姆斯特丹的一个产业,那么它将会是这个城市的第二大二氧化碳排放源。阿姆斯特丹作为一个整体,每年花费大约2.72亿欧元在从未食用的食物上。但荷兰目前正朝着正确的方向前进,许多新公司和举措通过减少浪费创造了新的价值。

为了能够真正减少上海的食物浪费,荷中双方通力合作,为共同解决这个问题提供了一个契机。此外,荷兰政府可以与上海政府签署谅解备忘录(MoU),就解决厨房/食品垃圾问题开展合作。这可能会形成一个长期政府间的咨询渠道,为荷兰食品垃圾管理组织提供了契机。目前,‘Dr2新经济’被委托,探索与荷兰食品浪费管理组织一起合作的可能性,如国际商业伙伴形式PIB。

上海的面积是阿姆斯特丹的20倍,想象一下在上海这样的城市减少食物浪费,会带来什么样的影响。上海市商务委副主任及代表团领导诸旖女士其后表示,她希望继续合作,以应付全球食物浪费的挑战,分享和交流知识、数据和最佳做法。为此,我们需要从短期驱动的应对措施转向实际的长期系统转型,同时确定利益相关者的需求,克服障碍,同时监测影响。感谢弗罗基·安妮·卡斯滕、杰西·罗萨莱斯·卡瑞恩和乔里特·范·库伊吉,感谢你们鼓舞人心的演讲,感谢你们参与了此次有意义的活动。