Harry Stevens is a freelance reporter covering climate change, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and sustainable finance. Harry has contributed to several media outlets, including Justmeans, GreenBiz, SocialEarth, and Sustainablog. You can follow Harry on Twitter: @Harry_Stevens...
Chinese Solar Company Makes Big Commitments to Fight Climate Change
Yingli Green Energy has become the first Chinese company and the first photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer to join Climate Savers, a program created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to encourage corporations to make major contributions to addressing climate change.
"We look forward to working more broadly with WWF and joining hands with other Climate Savers to lead the world's transition to a low carbon economy," said Liansheng Miao, Chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy.
Corporate participants in the Climate Savers program must set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across their operations.
"The Climate Savers program is a very exclusive club," said Peter Beaudoin, CEO of WWF-China.
Initiated by WWF in 1999, Climate Savers now includes 30 members companies including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Novo Nordisk and Sony.
"Only companies agreeing to be industry leaders in cutting CO2 emissions and supporting growth of clean, renewable energy are accepted as members," added Beaudoin.
To join the ranks of Climate Savers member companies, Yingli Green Energy made a number of major environmental commitments. For instance, the company has pledged to significantly reduce GHG emissions across its supply chain, production, and transportation by 2015.
"We have been constantly reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions in our production and operation in order to provide greener and cleaner PV products to our customers," said Jingfeng Xiong , Vice President and Chief Climate Officer of Yingli Green Energy.
By 2015, the company plans to launch a Global Green Solar PV Manufacturing Standard that will aim to promote energy efficiency and encourage the adoption of renewable energy technologies.
In becoming the first Chinese company to join Climate Savers, Yingli Green Energy has positioned itself as a leader in China's uphill battle to reduce its carbon emissions.
"China has global manufacturing leaders, is beginning to have global innovation leaders, and now is beginning to have global leaders in the fight against climate change as well," said Beaudoin.
With a steadily growing economy and the world's largest appetite for coal power, China's contribution to global warming is significant. In 2007, China passed the United States in its annual contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide, a major contributor to climate change.
China has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, an international accord to control climate change, but the agreement does not force China to limit GHG emissions because of it is still a developing economy.
Headquartered in Baoding, China, a city of over 1 million residents that lies less than 100 miles southwest of Beijing, Yingli Green Energy sells PV modules in Europe, North America, and Asia.
The company, which markets its products under the brand "Yingli Solar," has sold nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of PV modules to customers worldwide, the equivalent of powering around 800,000 homes with green electricity annually.
With an annual production capacity of 2,450 megawatts, Yingli Green Energy is one of the world's largest vertically integrated PV manufacturers. The company, which is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has a market capitalization of over $400 million.
Image credit: phogel, Flickr