The Road to a Cleaner, Col­lab­o­ra­tive Ocean

Nor­way-Asia Busi­ness Sum­mit (NABS) re­turned to Shang­hai, the city where the con­fer­ence first started, for the eight edi­tion of the event.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - F OREWORD - CHEYENNE HOLLIS

This year saw more than 1,000 del­e­gates at­tend the two-day Sum­mit that was the largest and most am­bi­tious event to date.

The ocean was at the fore­front of NABS 2019 and it is some­thing of para­mount im­por­tance for both Nor­way and China. Busi­ness lead­ers, govern­ment of­fi­cials and lead­ing ex­perts from each coun­try came to­gether to learn more about how they could col­lab­o­rate in ways that will ac­cel­er­ate the en­ergy tran­si­tion and con­trib­ute to a health­ier ocean en­vi­ron­ment.

Mr Morten Sten Jo­hansen, Chair­man of the Nor­we­gian Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion China, opened the Sum­mit by ex­pand­ing on that idea, “Our ob­jec­tive is to pro­vide a meet­ing arena for de­ci­sion mak­ers to de­liver a sus­tain­able ocean

econ­omy. Main­tain­ing a clean ocean en­vi­ron­ment is a pre-con­di­tion for busi­ness and this event can strengthen trade be­tween Nor­way and Asia.”

Asia is the sec­ond most im­por­tant ex­port mar­ket for Nor­way be­hind only Europe, but Nor­we­gian Min­is­ter of Trade and In­dus­try, H.E. Tor­b­jørn Røe Isak­sen, pointed out that the re­la­tion­ship should not focus solely on busi­ness dur­ing his speech at NABS 2019.

“Our oceans are un­der strain. So while we strive for busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, we must also work to­wards sus­tain­abil­ity. The Nor­we­gian govern­ment has placed oceans high on our agenda. We need tech­nol­ogy and new so­lu­tions, but busi­ness has to be com­mit­ted to help­ing us find these,” he said. “Nor­way will con­tinue to be a lead­ing ocean na­tion, but we must be even more en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious and work to­wards dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion since this is the fu­ture.”

There is po­ten­tial for these ef­forts to sup­port China’s at­tempts build its green econ­omy. The coun­try has al­ready ini­ti­ated a few ini­tia­tives as part of this move­ment.

“In China, we be­gan think­ing about green fi­nances in 2014. It started with the 14 steps to build a green fi­nan­cial eco-sys­tem that were adopted by the govern­ment in 2016. At the time it was the only over-arch­ing green fi­nan­cial sys­tem in the world,” Mr Ma Jun, Chair­man of Green Fi­nance Com­mit­tee of China So­ci­ety of Fi­nance and Bank­ing and Mem­ber of the Mon­e­tary Pol­icy Com­mit­tee of the Peo­ple’s Bank of China, ex­plained.

China’s en­ergy tran­si­tion was a key topic through­out NABS 2019 and Madame Li Yalan, Chair­per­son of Bei­jing Gas Group and Chair­per­son elect of In­ter­na­tional Gas Union, noted that there were a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties for the two coun­tries to work to­gether.

“There are no lim­its on for­eign in­vest­ment in the LNG mar­ket and we wel­come greater Nor­we­gian in­volve­ment,” Li told the NABS 2019 au­di­ence. “Nor­way also has ex­pe­ri­ence with new en­er­gies, like wind, where we still have a lot to learn. We hope to bet­ter un­der­stand by col­lab­o­rat­ing with com­pa­nies in the re­new­ables sec­tor.”

Madame Li’s key­note speech was fol­lowed by H.E. Rikard Gaarder Knut­sen, Nor­we­gian Vice Min­is­ter of Petroleum and En­ergy, who stressed the im­por­tance of the en­ergy tran­si­tion.

“We want to use our en­er­gies in the most sus­tain­able way pos­si­ble. Our his­tory has given us ex­pe­ri­ence in this. We are also mov­ing for­ward in the petroleum sec­tor. Emis­sion re­duc­tion and new tech­nol­ogy in­vest­ment to ac­com­plish this must be in­cen­tivised,” Min­is­ter Knut­sen said.

This com­ment came dur­ing a panel dis­cus­sion that looked into new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties that could come about be­cause of the en­ergy tran­si­tion. All the pan­el­lists thought China could reach zero car­bon emis­sions and find ways to re­duce its de­pen­dence on fos­sil fu­els.

“China shares a sus­tain­able vision with many coun­tries. The EU has tar­geted zero car­bon emis­sions by 2050 and China will soon sub­mit its own zero car­bon emis­sion strat­egy. How­ever, we have a lot to learn from Nor­way in or­der to reach this target,” Mr Li Jun­feng, Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, China Re­new­able En­ergy In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, noted.

These po­ten­tial part­ner­ships and knowl­edge shar­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties will have a strong foun­da­tion to build upon with China al­ready start­ing the en­ergy tran­si­tion process.

“We are al­ready see­ing China lead­ing the way when it comes to the en­ergy tran­si­tion. Coal us­age will de­crease, oil de­mand will de­crease while LNG will sta­bilise and be a part of the en­ergy mix. Even­tu­ally twothirds of elec­tric­ity will be pow­ered by re­new­ables,” Liv Hovem, CEO, DNV GL – Oil & Gas, re­ported.

The sec­ond ma­jor ses­sion at NABS 2019 fo­cused on sus­tain­able ocean busi­ness with Nor­way’s Spe­cial En­voy to the Ocean, Mr Vi­dar Helge­sen, touch­ing on both the dan­gers of cli­mate change and the ben­e­fits China and Nor­way could re­alise by col­lab­o­rat­ing on so­lu­tions to this prob­lems.

“Cli­mate change is im­pact­ing the oceans in un­pre­dictable ways. This causes chal­lenges, but we now know that the ocean and ocean busi­nesses hold the so­lu­tions,” Mr Helge­sen pointed out. “We know the ocean holds a lot of ben­e­fits when it comes to re­new­able en­ergy, fish­ing and a host of other sec­tors. What we need to do is max­imise these ben­e­fits. Nor­way and China can use our ex­per­tise in the in­di­vid­ual fields to cre­ate ocean­cen­tric so­lu­tions.”

NABS 2019 then broke into smaller ses­sions fo­cus­ing in on var­i­ous top­ics cov­er­ing en­ergy, shipping, tech­nol­ogy, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and busi­ness. China’s grow­ing use of LNG was men­tioned at mul­ti­ple sem­i­nars.

“LNG is a so­lu­tion for wa­ter trans­porta­tion and China started build­ing up an LNG fleet in 2012. The govern­ment is pro­vid­ing in­cen­tives for LNG and we will hope­fully see more move­ment to­wards LNG in the fu­ture,” Mr Ji Yongbo, Di­rec­tor, China Shipping Tech­nol­ogy Re­search Cen­ter of China Water­borne Trans­port In­sti­tute, Chi­nese Min­istry of Trans­port, re­ported.

The use of LNG in shipping is part of China’s goal to re­duce emis­sions and clean up its coastal ar­eas.

“Roughly eight per­cent of China’s emis­sions comes from shipping and we have al­ready worked on LNG shipping and hy­brid shipping to help re­duce this. The govern­ment im­ple­mented the Do­mes­tic Emis­sion Con­trol Ar­eas in 2015 with the goal of cutting emis­sions start­ing with core ports. In 2019, the pro­gram will be as­sessed and pos­si­bly ex­panded,” Mr Xu Guoyi, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Com­mis­sion Of­fice of Shang­hai

Com­bined Port (COSCP), said.

But us­ing LNG is just a start. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Egil Haugs­dal, Pres­i­dent of Kongs­berg Mar­itime, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion has an im­por­tant role to play when it comes to cre­at­ing sus­tain­able ocean so­lu­tions.

“In Nor­way, 99 per­cent of cows are con­nected, but nowhere near that amount of ships are con­nected. We need the next gen­er­a­tion of shipping so we can start en­act­ing pos­i­tive changes. Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in shipping can solve en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. We al­ready have the technologi­es in place else­where, it is just about con­nect­ing them,” he pointed out.

Offshore wind is an­other sec­tor where both China and Nor­way are lead­ers. A spe­cial ses­sion hosted by In­no­va­tion Nor­way and the Chi­nese Wind En­ergy As­so­ci­a­tion, pro­vided a look into what both coun­tries were do­ing in the field.

The sec­ond day of NABS 2019 be­gan with a look at China’s role in the global econ­omy or­gan­ised by The Econ­o­mist.

“It is pos­si­ble that there is a push for a friend­lier busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and greater re­forms that sup­port in­vest­ment in China which would have a pos­i­tive im­pact. These re­forms need to ad­dress the con­cerns of the in­ter­na­tional busi­ness com­mu­nity. The For­eign In­vestors Law will help ease some of these con­cerns,” Ms Mary Boyd, Di­rec­tor at The Econ­o­mist Cor­po­rate Net­work in Shang­hai, told the au­di­ence.

On the first day of the NABS 2019, there was sign­ing be­tween Con­fed­er­a­tion of Nor­we­gian En­ter­prise (NHO) and Con­fed­er­a­tion of Dan­ish In­dus­try (DI) to launch en­try ser­vices into China for Nor­we­gian com­pa­nies via DI Asia Base. On the sec­ond day, the two or­gan­i­sa­tions spoke more on the im­por­tance of hav­ing a lo­cal foot­print.

One of the most poignant ses­sions hosted dur­ing this year’s NABS cov­ered how women can be­come more in­volved in lead­er­ship as we en­ter the digital age.

“Women re­main un­der­rep­re­sented in digital sec­tors and we must work to re­duce it. Hav­ing more fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the digital arena can bring much needed in­sights and a new per­spec­tive to busi­nesses,” Ms Heidi Wiig, As­so­ci­ate Dean BI-Fu­dan MBA Pro­gram and Pro­fes­sor at BI Nor­we­gian Busi­ness School, ex­plained.

The NABS 2019 was the largest in pro­gram his­tory and show­cased both the strength of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Nor­way and Asia as well as the po­ten­tial to fur­ther cul­ti­vate it. With the tools and technologi­es re­quired to achieve a cleaner, sus­tain­able ocean al­ready avail­able, greater col­lab­o­ra­tion will en­sure it is im­ple­mented swiftly.

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