World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

Climate Business Hub China Accelerates Corporate Climate Action in China

  • Date: 16 December 2020
  • Author: Dan Riley, Director, International Corporate Climate Partnerships

As I reflect on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement and the end of 2020, I believe we have reason to be optimistic about the fight against climate change. Several climate-critical countries, including China, Japan, South Africa, and South Korea, recently stepped forward with ambitious carbon neutrality targets--joining the dozens who have already made such commitments. Here in the U.S, the incoming Biden-Harris Administration has pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement on “Day One,” and a coalition of thousands of communities, businesses and institutions have declared that “America is All In,” while calling for a net-zero trajectory for the United States.

We have more reason to be optimistic when we look to the contributions being made by businesses. Over 1000 companies globally have committed to set Science Based Targets, with nearly 500 of those already approved. Over 280 companies have signed on to RE100, committing to use 100% renewable electricity, and in the U.S., over 200 companies have joined the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. The commitments of these leading companies, and many more across the U.S., reflect the growing consensus by business that they must cut greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and their supply chains if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

The need for a Global Gateway

Despite this growing corporate ambition, companies face real barriers to translate their ambitious targets into on-the-ground actions. One particularly difficult challenge is working with supply chain partners in international markets. In many of these markets the critical role business must play in cutting emissions is not yet locked in. And, we know suppliers face tremendous capacity, market, and policy challenges even if they want to succeed.

That’s why WWF has been working to make it easier for companies and their suppliers to do more quickly. We know from working in many countries, including India, Mexico, South Korea, and Viet Nam, that success requires localized, integrated, and streamlined support platforms. In each case, WWF leverages deep local roots and strong technical expertise to identify the most effective local partners and to navigate the unique market and cultural conditions towards long-lasting solutions.

Climate Business Hub China

This month, WWF China launched one more program, the Climate Business Hub China (CBH China). CBH China will focus initially on three offerings where deep-rooted, localized support can unlock climate action for companies and their local suppliers: target-setting, renewable energy procurement, and low-carbon innovation. This work is convened and led by local experts at WWF China and includes materials, presentations and events in Chinese.

Target Setting: To make it as easy and efficient as possible for local teams and suppliers in China to engage and learn at scale, CBH China has developed a Science Based Target Training Camp to provide answers and share case studies that allow businesses to set emissions reduction targets that are both real and achievable. Initially, the training will be held two or three times a year.

Additionally, through engagement with Chinese companies, we have found that they are less inclined to set a target or make public pledges without a very clear pathway for reaching the target. Therefore, CBH China is designed to provide strong implementation support along the SBTI training, with a particular focus on renewable electricity procurement.

Renewable Electricity Procurement: CBH China has developed a suite of tools and resources for companies at different levels of maturity:

• The Renewable Energy Buyers Statement is designed to help companies communicate their commitment and demand for renewable energy to policymakers and utilities.

• The Buyers’ Evaluation Tool will guide new companies through an eight-step renewable energy procurement journey and provides targeted recommendations and resources within each step to accelerate their renewable energy procurement journey.

• The Buyers' Curriculum provides modular renewable energy procurement training for companies at different stages of their procurement journey.

• The Corporate Renewable Energy Pilot Program provides hands-on support for motivated companies to work closely with provincial policymakers, utilities and renewable energy developers to explore new and better options for renewable electricity procurement.

Low Carbon Innovation: Companies need new and innovative solutions to reduce their emissions cost-effectively. Meanwhile, small and medium enterprises who are one of the main drivers for low-carbon innovation face significant financing and marketing challenges. CBH China’s Climate Solver program awards small and medium enterprises which develop innovative low-carbon solutions annually and connects these innovators to the companies and investors who can accelerate their commercialization and growth.

The Climate Business Hub China—one more reason to be optimistic for 2021!

For more information about Climate Business Hub China, please contact Yue Wu or Daniel Riley.