U.S. and China Collaborate on Sustainable Development Projects

An agreement signed this month by the United States and China Business Councils for Sustainable Development brings the U.S. closer to China on all things renewable.

Business leaders from the two countries will collaborate on economic, social and environmental projects, specifically the establishment of a joint communication center in Beijing to disseminate information on project results involving economic, environmental, and societal benefits. The Sino-U.S. sustainable development communication center will allow the two councils to trade expertise and technologies. They will pursue funding from both the U.S. and Chinese governments and other funding organizations to assure mutual support for the center. The focus will begin on expanding the use of clean-burning bio-fuels, creating a more sustainable strategy for the cement industry, of which China is the world’s largest producer, and implementing byproduct synergy, a system that allows companies from one industry to reuse byproducts as feedstocks for another. “It is exciting to consider the possibilities of a U.S.-China collaboration on sustainable development, which should offer new business opportunities that produce clear and measurable economic, environmental and societal benefits,” said Terry Welch who, in addition to serving as vice-chairman of the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), directs the Global Environmental Technology Center for Dow Chemical. Welch and Andrew Mangan, executive director for the US BCSD, signed the agreement. The agreement came about after the Chinese business contingent asked the US BCSD in June 2005 to establish a formal mechanism so the two could cooperate on sustainable development matters. That request coincided with a suggestion from the Chinese Environmental Protection Agency to the U.S. Department of Commerce that the two national governments establish a bilateral office to promote joint projects in environmental protection, cleaner production, pollution prevention and clean energy. These two objectives could potentially be realized through the Beijing communication center. Launched in 2002, the US BCSD is a nonprofit association of businesses that serves as a partner organization of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a global network of 170 international companies with members from 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. The WBCSD plays a leading role in shaping the business response to the challenges of sustainable development. The US BCSD plays a complementary role by communicating those policies to the U.S. business community and its stakeholders and by implementing projects that apply sustainable development principles to real-world problems. The Chinese Business Council plays a similar role in its country. “These agreements hold tremendous value for companies committed to sustainable development as a part of their business strategies,” said Andrew Mangan, US BCSD executive director. “Much work remains to be done to implement the agreements, but I am excited about the potential of this partnership.”
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