Water Stewardship In Industrial Parks: TEDA Pilot

By Zhenzhen Xu, An Chen 18 May, 2017

Water is a top concern among industrial parks. Chen & Xu show how TEDA is leading the way on these risks

333 national development zones = 22.5% of China’s GDP
TEDA, one of China’s earliest zones, is known for its unmatched economic scale & good investment environment
Even though already made >30% in water savings, TEDA is launching a project to implement AWS standards

Industrial Parks (IPs) have played an important role as growth engines for local economies in the miraculous 30-year economic transition in China. IPs have contributed significantly to national GDP, employment, exports and the attraction of foreign investment. In 2014, 333 national development zones1 generated RMB14 trillion, accounting for 22.5% of the country’s GDP. However, due to rapid industrial expansion and high development density, IPs have also faced increasing resource constraints and serious environmental degradation. Water security and pollution problems top the list of concerns for many local authorities in charge of IPs.

In 2014, 333 national development zones generated RMB14 trn = 22.5% of China’s GDP…

… TEDA, one of China’s earliest development zones, is known for its unmatched economic scale & its good investment environment

Development of TEDA (1)
Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA), one of China’s earliest national development zones, is known among its domestic IP peers for its unmatched economic scale and its good investment environment after more than 30 years of rapid growth. It has committed to pursuing sustainable development by decoupling between economic development and energy resources consumption. Moreover, it has consistently worked towards improving its environment management through initiatives including ISO14001, GRI reporting, Eco Logo on industrial solid waste management, energy/carbon emission audits etc.
In order to holistically implement “Solid waste-Energy-Water” management system, TEDA, together with Water Stewardship Australia (WSA), is now rolling out a long-term project. This project will use the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s International Water Stewardship Standards to fundamentally change the way that water is understood, used and disposed by industries, institutions and communities located in this area.

TEDA is now rolling out a long-term project with WSA…

…”this project will use the AWS International Water Stewardship Standards to fundamentally change the way that water is understood, used & disposed by industries…”

TEDA solid waste energy water management system
The AWS Standards set out a new roadmap for water users to understand their own water use, catchment context and shared concerns in terms of water governance, water balance, water quality and Important Water-Related Areas, then engage in meaningful individual and collective actions that benefit people and nature.  In TEDA, the project will mainly focus on three tasks:

  1. Adopting AWS at the TEDA Level: to thoroughly evaluate the potential water risks and challenges based on the status quo, and recognise the opportunities that may comprehensively improve economic and environmental benefits;
  2. Launching a long-term AWS certification and recognition scheme in TEDA: to help enterprises augment efficiency of water utilisation based on voluntary standards and market mechanism;
  3. Developing necessary mechanisms and infrastructures to support the AWS framework, such as relevant supporting policy, data system and communication platform.

TEDA water stats table (4)

TEDA forms a replicable & sustainable model for nationwide IPs

As a major step to enhance water management and motivate major water users to make positive change individually and collectively in reducing water consumption and minimising water pollution, TEDA will summarise the best practice management for water resource development and utilisation, form a replicable and sustainable model for nationwide IPs, and promote the standardisation of AWS in national level. Thus, TEDA will demonstrate its leadership in Eco-Industrial Park Construction with a complete set of programmes covering water, solid waste, and energy (carbon) management.
TEDA snapshot (1)
Just as the Director of TEDA Eco Centre Ms. Song Yuyan said: “International cooperation is a good way to promote ecological construction of industrial parks in China, we do deem that the advanced management concept and green technologies from Australia will definitely make a difference in accelerating sustainable development of TEDA.”
This project is kindly supported by the Australian Water Partnership. The experience from this project is expected to be shared with more industrial parks in China as well as those in other countries across the Indo-Pacific Region.

1 333 national development zones includes 115 National Hi-tech Industrial Development Zones and 218 National Economic and Technological Development Zones.

Further Reading 

  • Pearl River Delta: 5 Water Must-Knows – China’s Pearl River Delta generates 9% of GDP but water challenges lurk behind the dazzling economic success. Don’t know what these are? China Water Risk’s Feng Hu shares 5 water must-knows for the region
  • Why Should PRD Business Lead In Water Stewardship? – With the Pearl River Delta set to lead China’s economic growth, China Water Risk’s Feng Hu & the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s Zhenzhen Xu explain why business should adopt water stewardship to ensure continued prosperity
  • Sharing Rivers: China & Kazakhstan – China and Kazakhstan share 24 rivers. Dr. Selina Ho from the National University of Singapore reviews their history of transboundary river co-operation and why this relationship is more advanced than China’s river relations with India & the Mekong states
  • Corporate Water Targets: A New Approach – More and more companies view water as a business risk and water stewardship as a solution but current water stewardship metrics for on-ground projects are inadequate. Tien Shiao from the Pacific Institute shares a new approach on setting corporate water targets
  • The Future Of Sustainability Reporting – With GRI replacing G4 guidelines with the first global sustainability reporting standard, we sat down with Global Reporting Initiative’s Ásthildur Hjaltadóttir to learn what this means & future trends in disclosure
  • Developing A Global Water Stewardship System – Alliance for Water Stewardship’s Zhenzhen Xu, Ma Xi & Michael Spencer introduce the first ever global water stewardship standard and share lessons learnt from Ecolab’s pilot at their Taicang China chemical plant
  • Water Stewardship: The Impact To Date – A new report finds there has been little evolution from business -as-usual in regards to water management. What behaviours need to change? How can this be achieved? We sat down with report authors James Dalton from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) & Peter Newborne from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • Innovating Water Stewardship Through Business Ecosystems – William Sarni, water stewardship expert, on the need for innovation in water strategies in order to better position for 21st Century water risks. Sarni points to “business ecosystems” as the driver for this innovation and value creation
  • Managing the World’s Liquid Asset – Water – Savvy investors now recognise water as a business risk yet there is still no agreed global standard & framework for sustainability reporting. Biswas, Tortajada & Chandler on why corporates & governments must do more to change the culture & mindset over the use of water
  • China’s Economy: Linear to Circular – China is the 3rd country globally to enact polices to move towards a circular economy. See how & why China needs to make this transition; which industries are affected, what is the role of industrial parks?
Zhenzhen Xu
Author: Zhenzhen Xu
Zhenzhen leads CWR’s stewardship initiatives which focus on rolling out the Alliance for Water Stewardship’s (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard across Asia Pacific. She has more than 10 years of experience in the field of industrial water solutions, corporate water stewardship and sustainable financing. Previously, Zhenzhen was based in Shanghai, where she established AWS China, heading a team to design and implement on-ground water stewardship programmes for leading MNCs, global brands, Chinese corporations as well as industrial parks and even university campuses. There, she worked closely with multi-stakeholders in critical regions such as the Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas as well as the Bohai Bay Area. Her time spent with businesses, local governments and NGOs to enhance catchment management through strategy & operational roundtables, trainings and site pilots provides valuable insights to managing basin risks. Zhenzhen also advises them on policy interventions and market incentives to build sustainable and holistic models to protect watersheds. Prior to this, she worked for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), co-leading their China Water Program; Veolia Water and Sogreah Consultancy. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering from Tongji University and a Master of Environmental Management and Development from the Australian National University.
Read more from Zhenzhen Xu →
An Chen
Author: An Chen
Mr. An Chen serves as project manager in TEDA Eco Center, and he is mainly responsible for industrial parks sustainable development consulting work-related, including waste management, information disclosure, carbon auditing, green-planning, parks assessment etc. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from Central South University and Joint Master’s degree in Environment Technology and Engineering from UNESCO-IHE, University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, and Ghent University.
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