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European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan, Taoyuan mayor share ESG visions

Taiwan News discusses low carbon, smart cities in terms of business and government policy

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Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (center) and European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan Vice Chair Giuseppe Izzo (left) talk about their vision for go...

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (center) and European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan Vice Chair Giuseppe Izzo (left) talk about their vision for go... (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) and European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) Vice Chair Giuseppe Izzo have with Taiwan News shared government and business strategies for achieving environment, social, and governance (ESG) principles.

During Cheng’s first term as mayor, Taoyuan adopted the “Low-carbon Self-governing Developmental Act.” Cheng said that under this policy, the Taoyuan City Government has not only provided guidance on energy saving and carbon reduction for industries but also actively developed renewable energy.

“In terms of developing renewable energy, as of now we have around 700 megawatts (of capacity),” Cheng said. During the seven years of his mayorship, the city’s solar power capacity increased 83-fold; the natural gas-based Datan Power Plant's fine particle (PM 2.5) emissions decreased by around 49%; and waste resource recovery factories were established, including Taiwan’s first large biofuel power plant.

Cheng attributed Taoyuan’s success promoting ESG principles to its use of smart technology, such as in pollution detection systems. He said he intends to continue exploring smart governance and digitized applications, beginning with smart water, electricity, and gas meters and encompassing technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and big data.

Izzo, who also serves as the chair of the ECCT’s Low Carbon Initiative (LCI), said the initiative is very active in promoting ESG principles, such as through the Sustainable Development Goals International Forum, Global Offshore Wind Summit, Taiwan Renewable Procurement Summit, Tainan Low Carbon City Conference, and Green Finance Leaders Roundtable Forum.

The LCI’s three working groups — Green Finance, Eco-mobility and logistics, and Sustainable Supply Chain — work according to the principles of green energy, green financing, energy efficiency, green mobility, smart cities, smart manufacturing, and circular economy. The initiative, which began with only 14 businesses in its ranks, now has 86 members, not just from Europe but also North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

In terms of Taiwan’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Izzo stressed the importance of building more renewable energy infrastructure to increase capacity as well as developing different forms of renewable energy. Taiwan’s onshore wind energy potential has not yet been fully realized, while geothermal energy is still underdeveloped despite the country’s geographic advantages.

Izzo added that although the electric vehicle industry has seen a boom in recent years, the growth is not reflected in the development of certain types of infrastructure, such as charging stations. “It’s a bottleneck, so more needs to be done.”

For businesses to transition to more sustainable operation models, the biggest challenge is to upgrade without slowing down. However, Izzo said he believes companies in Taiwan realize the importance of transitioning and that the shift will ultimately yield efficiency in production and cost.