Clean air is a fundamental right

In China Chen Guangbiao cans clean air and sells it for 60 cents a can to residents of Beijing. The solution does not help the more than 20 million city dwellers who are exposed to polluted air every day.

China has actually started a war against air pollution. Hundreds of billions of euros will be invested in the coming years into solving the problem. The battle will open completely new business opportunities for Finnish companies, which the Team Finland network can promote with its Beautiful Beijing collaborative platform.

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection leads efforts to boost air quality with an extensive programme with the goal of reducing emissions by 25 percent by 2017 from the 2012 level. The main reasons for pollution are industrial emissions and transport. Coal accounts for nearly 70 percent of China's primary consumption of energy. The greatest single reason for city smog are emissions from vehicular transport.

As average city dwellers spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, the significance of clean indoor air for human wellbeing is great in the short term. Indoor air quality can be improved quickly and with fairly low investments by utilising Finnish technology, among other things.
"Solving the original causes of pollution is the only sustainable solution when attempting to rein in air pollution in China. Political measures and regulation will be the most important tools in this battle", says Kari Hiltunen Director at Tekes Beijing.

High-level support for companies

Producing the Beautiful Beijing platform at the practical level has been the responsibility of Finpro and Tekes. At the beginning of the project they brought together ready and cost-effective comprehensive solutions of Finnish companies, which have a direct impact on air quality. Solutions connected with energy, construction, transport, industrial processes, and the monitoring of air quality were offered to the Chinese when the discussions began.

Finpro is examining the needs of the Chinese in the project and is looking for new collaborative platforms and piloting targets in Beijing and more broadly in China.

"We have identified about five extensive construction targets together with Beijing officials and companies where ecologically effective energy solutions are desired. A pilot project connected with indoor air quality has also been built and is now in operation" says Director Eero Siitonen of Finpro Beijing.

The dialogue that Team Finland players continue to have with Chinese authorities has also helped companies succeed in China. The companies have been able to seal deals, the first of which include Oilon, BMH, and Pegasor.

Courage to internationalise

The first phase of the Beautiful Beijing platform is coming to an end. Foundations for persevering collaboration have been built. Key players both in Finland and China have committed to developing solution-oriented cooperation. About 50 companies from Finland are taking part in the Beautiful Beijing project.

Clean, environmentally friendly solutions are in the forefront of Finland's cooperation with China next year as well. Beautiful Beijing will continue to be part of the growth programme headed by Finpro with strengthened resources in the spirit of Team Finland.

"One of the key goals of the Beautiful Beijing platform is to make Finland well-known as a top country of cleantech. In this our team has succeed well. So far there have been more than 288 stories connected with the platform in different Chinese media, and have been seen 4.8 billion times", emphasises Seppo Selkälä, the head of Finpro's units in Beijing and Shanghai.

"To achieve better influence and coordination, the aim is to link all cleantech collaboration with China onto the Beautiful Beijing platform. For this reason, the new Beautiful Beijing will be expanded to cover all of China's main environmental challenges, to the soil and water in addition to the air, and geographically to all of China. However, air quality will be the most central part of BB cooperation. With the extension, BB's high-level image can be utilised by a broader group of Finnish companies all over China", Kari Hiltunen emphasises.

Kari Hiltunen, Tekes Beijing
Seppo Selkälä, Finpro Beijing & Shanghai
Eero Siitonen, Finpro Beijing

In the photo from the left, Eero Siitonen, Kari Hiltunen and Seppo Selkälä.

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Sanna Nuutila
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