Photo: Courtesy of China Everbright International

Bright Green Trade

Responsible for environmental protection and remediation, China Everbright International Limited (Everbright International) is at the forefront of China’s determination to address its massive pollution challenges affecting air, water and land.

In recent months, local news articles have announced new anti-pollution measures by China’s cabinet, such as reducing emissions in key industries at least 30 per cent by the end of 2017.
In this vein, Everbright International, a state-owned enterprise and Hong Kong listed company, welcomes new partners to complement its own environmental strengths.

Staffed by more than 1,700 employees, Everbright International’s capabilities span environmental project investment, construction engineering, operation management, technology research and development, and equipment manufacturing focused mainly on clean energy and water, and alternative energy.

With more than 70 initiatives in 20 cities under its belt, the firm’s clean energy projects include waste-to-energy, methane-to-energy, biomass power generation and solar photovoltaic energy.

It also facilitates the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, treatment of waste water and surface water, and design and construction of environmental protection industrial parks.

“Owing to the limited resources in China, our objective is not only to control the pollution, but also to maximize our resources and achieve higher utilization efficiency,” says Chen Tao, deputy general manager of Everbright International and a veteran project manager and engineer who joined the company eight years ago.

Denis L’Heureux, EDC’s Chief Representative, Greater China, says China is the world’s biggest cleantech market.

“Last year, for the first time, China spent more on cleantech than the United States. It’s the number-one country worldwide in cleantech and alternative energy investments. The money is here. The opportunities are huge.”

Speaking from Everbright International’s mainland headquarters—high atop a brand new office tower overlooking a tree-lined street in the modern city of Shenzhen—Chen says Everbright International’s ultimate goal is to provide municipalities in China with environmental solutions that bring together its full capacity—from waste treatment to emissions reduction.

WHAT THE BUYER WANTS

When choosing suppliers, Chen adds, Everbright International starts by seeking companies that share its corporate values in environmental protection and commitment to social responsibility.

Beyond that, says Chen, “they must have the technological capacity, and ability to deliver and support those technologies,” ideally through a local presence.

“Until recently, Everbright International didn’t have substantial cooperation with Canadian companies,” says Peter Xu, EDC’s Senior Regional Manager, Greater China.

EDC has been on a path to enlighten the firm about Canadian prowess in cleantech for about a year. That’s when EDC joined the ranks of other international lenders—including the Asian Development Bank and International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank Group)—that have helped support the publicly traded firm’s projects.

For its part, EDC’s recent $10 million financing to Everbright International included a stipulation that the company “look into procurement from Canadian companies, as long as they are competitive,” says Xu.

“EDC has introduced Canadian companies to us, and we have been in discussion with several of them,” adds Chen. “This is a good way for Everbright International to understand Canadian technology and capacity better.”

While (as at June 2013) Canadian companies have yet to win specific Everbright International projects, he says “some of the technologies may not have immediate application, but they could be a source of reference for future projects.”

Noting that Canadians are recognized for innovation, especially in areas such as water treatment using plasma technology, Chen believes Canadian suppliers typically have a harder time competing with European firms. Those companies are more accustomed to providing comprehensive solutions to large-scale environmental challenges.

SCALING UP

L’Heureux agrees. “Canadian companies have great technologies and great solutions. The issue is that Canadian companies also tend to be small. They typically lack the scale to fulfill large orders from the Chinese.”

He adds, however, that Everbright International could potentially become a strategic partner for a Canadian company “and really help them grow and develop.”

Chen’s preference for technologies that are “localized” (tailored) to address issues such as China’s solid and liquid waste opens a door to opportunities.

“Technology or equipment that works well in Canada may not automatically work perfectly in China. For example, the content of the waste differs from that in North America, so it makes sense that the waste treatment technologies needed here in China may differ from those in Canada.”

For example, as part of its mission to develop comprehensive solutions, Everbright International is seeking technologies that treat not only a broad band of waste—such as kitchen, sewage and liquid—but which could ultimately also recycle residual sludge or convert it into a clean fuel.

That may sound like a tall order, but Chen suggests, “If a Canadian company is willing to work with us from the very beginning on joint research, evaluation, and analysis of the project before it is launched, then we could line up the technology solution together.”

By jointly developing such customized—and cost-effective—solutions, Chen says, Canadian firms could win the business.

Naturally, collaborative R&D—even when conducted among Canadian firms in Canada—raises sensitivities. Acknowledging that intellectual property (IP) protection is a top concern of Canadian companies coming to China, Peter Xu says IP issues are improving here.

“Like any organization, if you work with other companies it’s not 100 per cent guaranteed risk-free, but Everbright International is a perfectly credible company listed on the main board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. Cooperation with Everbright International is quite safe.”

The bottom line, he says: “China needs the resources, needs the technology in environmental protection. Canadians have that. It’s complementary, so it’s good that we create cooperation opportunities between Canadian and Chinese companies.”

If you would like your company to be considered for future EDC-supported events and matchmaking activity involving Everbright International, please contact EDC’s Lynn Côté (lcote@edc.ca).

EVERBRIGHT INTERNATIONAL’S TECHNOLOGY SHORTLIST

  • Technology that treats organic waste with oxygen
  • Clean methods to convert sludge into energy
  • Technologies to recycle sludge, such as turning it into fertilizer
  • Energy-saving technology in wastewater treatment
  • Biomass energy technology
  • Soil remediation technology
  • Emission purification technology
Categories Asia & Pacific, Clean Technologies, Mining & Energy, Technology & Telecom

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