On September 4, 2022, the Sub-session on Economy and Technology of the 6th Taihe Civilizations Forum (TCF) was held both online and on-site. Chinese and international experts specializing in green development, carbon finance, science and technology were invited to exchange ideas on the theme of “Create a New Zero-Carbon World by Technology and Innovation.” Discussions focused on financial innovation measures, key technologies, and system design to achieve the “dual carbon” goals.
In his speech at the 2022 TCF Sub-Session on Economy and Technology, Professor Ding Yifan, Senior Fellow of Taihe Institute, noted the many challenges facing China and the world, including energy crises, food supply, inflation, and extreme weather. All these crises reflect the far-reaching environment and climate impact generated by corporate responsibility, carbon emissions, information disclosure and regulation.
Mr. Dong Zhanfeng, Director of the Institute of Environmental Policy of Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning under the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China, pointed to improving environmental governance capabilities by overcoming carbon information barriers between different market players, as well as the barriers between market players and regulatory authorities. As such, enterprises should be encouraged to adopt low-carbon production, operation and investment to improve their performance in environmental protection. Moreover, companies can better demonstrate their carbon emission reduction efforts, which is key to improving corporate value, through carbon information disclosure.
Ms. Lu Peili, Fellow of Taihe Institute, Researcher of Antai College of Economics and Management (ACEM) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Guest Lecturer at China Financial Futures Exchange, noted that ESG reflects the carbon account value, credit value and market value of an enterprise. ESG can play a guiding role in investment, connect enterprises and investors, and break down the barriers between market players. It is necessary to build an ESG assessment system with Chinese characteristics and an ESG pathway suitable for China’s national conditions.
Dr. Sun Tianyin, Deputy Director of the Center for Green Finance Research of National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University, introduced the latest progress in ESG and environmental information disclosure, and stressed that the “planetary boundaries” of climate change and biodiversity, which are key indicators of environmental information disclosure, have been broken and seriously “extravagated.” While society and the financial community have paid more attention to climate change, the understanding and attention to biodiversity loss is still relatively limited. Biodiversity integrity is an important measurement of the health of ecosystems. Moreover, our economic activities are highly relevant to various services provided by the ecosystem. Green finance needs to feature both the assessment of biodiversity loss-related financial risks and generous financial support for the protection and promotion of biodiversity as the pillars of its work.
Mr. Wang Le, Chairman of Infinities Technology International (Cayman) Holding Limited, noted that informatization continues to drive human civilization and displays three distinct trends. First, everything is information: the amount of information generated by human society every day is uncountable; second, information is data, and artificial intelligence technology is constantly helping people to discover the valuable conclusions; third, data equals value creation. People’s decision-making, production and lives increasingly rely on data. Significantly, data not only determines people’s decisions, but is also produced by people’s behaviors. Tellingly, information technology is playing an increasingly important role in the process of building a low-carbon and zero-carbon society.
Mr. Yin Ye, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of BGI Group, pointed out that when discussing the meaning of science and technology, people should follow the core philosophy that technology should be used for good reasons. No technology, including life sciences, can solve all problems for humankind. Nor should mankind advance technology at the expense of morality, ethics, religion, culture and law. Mr. Yin stressed that humanism without technology may be foolish, but technology without humanism is truly dangerous.
Mr. Zhang Juntao, Supervisor of China Energy Conservation Association and Deputy Secretary-General of Carbon Neutrality Committee of China Energy Conservation Association, discussed the reasons and considerations behind China’s “dual-carbon” goals. Mr. Zhang argued that the dual-carbon goals are backed up by China’s institutional advantages and resource endowment. Thus, China is capable of successfully transitioning from carbon peak to carbon neutral in only half the time afforded by the developed countries. However, during this process, China must coordinate four pairs of relationships, i.e. the relationships between development and emission reduction, between overall and local development, between long-term and short-term objectives, and between government and market.
Mr. Zhang Lei, Fellow of Taihe Institute and CEO of Cheche Technology, pointed out that corporate social responsibility requires companies to go beyond the traditional vision of merely pursuing profits. They must now emphasize human values in production and operation, and make contributions to environmental protection, consumers and society. In the digital economy era, the focus is on applying technological innovation for social value creation. Beginning with fields encouraged by national policies, technological innovation can serve social development and industrial progressing, thus, bringing a better life to more people.
Mr. Thorsten Jelinek, Senior Fellow of Taihe Institute, Director of Taihe Institute Europe Center, and former Associate Director at the World Economic Forum, pointed out that despite certain industry insiders still worrying about carbon emission inspection and the universality of ESG indicators, the development of ESG has become an irreversible trend. Countries should mitigate the influence of imbalanced development with fairer mechanisms such as fair carbon tariffs and carbon pricing methods. Mr. Jelinek also expressed concern about the many different methods being used by different countries in their responses to environmental and climate problems, and over-politicization that often goes beyond the technical level.
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