Exploring Carbon Neutrality Expo: State-owned Enterprises Lead Transformation

Author: Steve Bu Editor: Lena Peng Jun 15, 2023 05:12 PM (GMT+8)

In the previous observation of the Shanghai International Carbon Neutrality Expo, EqualOcean reviewed the industry trends in low-carbon smart travel. In this article, we will focus on the more prominent segments of the exhibition, namely energy efficiency, circular economy, energy transformation, and low-carbon services.


Energy Efficiency and Circular Economy: Dual Practice of Environmental Protection and Digitalization

In the ESG reports of some companies, we can see the relevant descriptions of how to reduce carbon emissions in their operational processes and achieve energy-saving goals through digitalization. This is also an important part of many consumer retail companies' communication of ESG concepts to the public and external investors.

On the exhibition site, L'Oreal set up a blue light corridor with the theme "Carbon Journey of a Lipstick" to showcase the company's efforts in energy-saving and carbon reduction. According to the introduction, L'Oreal China's path to carbon neutrality in its operations mainly includes three steps: energy-saving and emission reduction, self-built renewable energy facilities, and introduction of renewable energy. Specific measures include promoting induction lighting and high-efficiency refrigeration systems, building low-energy consumption buildings, real-time dynamic monitoring of carbon neutrality, investing in solar panels and CHP stations in its Suzhou factory, and using photovoltaic and hydropower to achieve zero carbon emissions.



Budweiser, which had a red booth, showcased its carbon reduction achievements in the production process of beer and other beverages in its factories. Water resource recycling is a major feature of Budweiser's carbon-neutral brewing, and continuous reduction of water consumption in industrial production is achieved through the recycling of wastewater. According to data, Budweiser Asia-Pacific completed two important renovations at its factory in Wuhan in 2021. On the one hand, the factory replaced natural gas boilers with 100% biomass boilers, including furniture scraps, waste crops, and peanut shells. On the other hand, the factory purchased 100% renewable electricity from the Hubei Qingjiang hydropower station through a power supply contract, solving the carbon emissions problem in the power supply part.

At the same time, food and beverage packaging in the upstream of retail companies is also one of the key industries that practices carbon neutrality. Huhtamaki, a global supplier of sustainable packaging solutions headquartered in Finland, provides cold and hot beverage paper cups, paper bags, paper boxes, wrapping paper, paper straws, and paper cup sleeves to catering and other enterprises. In August 2022, Huhtamaki Group launched its first paper cup recycling pilot project in China in Shanghai, successfully recycling about 15 tons of paper cups within six months. According to the introduction, its goal is to achieve 100% production and operation using renewable energy in all global bases by 2030.

In addition, a group of manufacturing and technology companies such as Baowu Group (宝武集团), Huayi Group (华谊集团), Wangsu Technology (网宿科技), BASF, and Schneider also competed to showcase their carbon neutrality practices. Wangsu Technology's "Immersive Liquid-cooled Data Center" and Huayi Group's latest "Microalgae Carbon Sequestration Technology" became representatives of the "double-carbon black technology" at this exhibition.

Energy Transformation and Low-carbon Services: Demonstration Effect Led by Central State-owned Enterprises

An important feature of this Carbon Expo is that the exhibiting companies are mainly central state-owned enterprises and Shanghai local state-owned enterprises, with foreign enterprises playing a secondary role, and relatively fewer private enterprises. Especially in the energy transformation sector, central state-owned enterprises have taken the leading position in the demonstration effect.

Shenergy Group (申能集团), a Shanghai state-owned enterprise, has achieved a complete layout of the hydrogen energy industry chain and explored the formation of a "three vertical and three horizontal" industrial cluster. It has established three high-end product business lines for hydrogen production, storage and transportation, and fuel cell core components, and has Shanghai Hydrogen Energy Base and hydrogen energy application integration base outside the province. The STATE GRID Corporation of China (国家电网) presented the model of the Fengning Pumped Storage Power Station, known as the world's largest giant "power bank," creating four "world firsts" in energy storage, installed capacity, underground plant scale, and underground cavern group scale. Lingang Group (临港集团) has established the International Hydrogen Energy Valley, a Shanghai hydrogen energy characteristic industrial park, and developed tens of thousands of hydrogen energy application scenarios, such as heavy trucks, dump trucks, and commuter buses that can be converted in the development area.


International Hydrogen Energy Valley

With the gradual deployment of the dual-carbon strategy in the industrial chain, companies that provide carbon environmental protection services and carbon solutions for manufacturing and retail industries have developed rapidly in recent years. Companies such as Envision Digital (远景智能), Fengke AI (枫客智能), Tanqicheng (碳启城), SkyCo2 (擎工互联), E-C Digital (易碳数科), and Baoyue Carbon and Technology (宝月碳和) have product layouts for carbon management systems, focusing on technologies such as carbon capture, carbon reduction, carbon data quantification, and SaaS localization. In addition, traditional consulting firms such as PwC and KPMG also provide carbon-neutral management services for corporate clients.

Trend Analysis: Carbon Neutrality Has Entered Reality

In an afternoon spent at the Carbon Expo, EqualOcean's biggest impression was the rapid and deep industrial practice of the carbon neutrality concept in recent years.

When carbon neutrality and green environmental protection are no longer just empty slogans, we see that various industries are trying to seize the economic opportunities brought by the green industry and obtain value-added in industrial transformation and upgrading.

On the one hand, medium and large consumer retail companies are paying attention to low-carbon throughout the entire chain from raw material procurement, production, packaging, transportation, and recycling. Companies in the industry with core businesses such as sewage treatment, environmental packaging, and recycling will have the opportunity to obtain broader development space.

On the other hand, as central state-owned enterprises and other "big brothers" take industry targets as actual technological achievements and continue to invest heavily, the growing demand for carbon management will inevitably drive a group of small and medium-sized digital enterprises in the ecological and environmental protection field. Services such as carbon rating, carbon capture, carbon solidification, and carbon data quantification are worth paying attention to.