ESG Case Studies
ESG Case Studies is our regular column, where we usually discuss projects of Russian companies. This time, the column is dedicated entirely to Chinese companies and how they come up with their own sustainability projects.
Project: Development of proprietary technologies to clean up one of the world’s “dirtiest” industrial sites
China Petrochemical Development Corporation (CPDC)
CPDC’s most significant ESG project is directly related to its operations. The story began with the merger of CPDC and Taiwan Alkali Plant in the mid-1980s. As a result, the oil giant acquired an industrial site in Anshun. The site was unique in that it was the only one in the world to be simultaneously contaminated with mercury and dioxins, with some of the reagent leaking into the soil and surface water due to rainfall.

China Petrochemical Development Corporation is a major corporation, one of China’s “Big Three” oil giants. In addition to petrochemical plants, the company owns a hydrogen production plant and solar power plants. It employs over 580,000 people.

In 2009, CPDC launched a large-scale cleanup campaign. The company brought in leading experts and began researching and developing the most advanced technologies. Solutions have been found, and mercury and dioxins are now being removed from the soil using high temperatures and wet treatment of the least contaminated areas. The final phase of the project will be completed in 2024.
The project has become a separate line of business for the company. Today, CPDC has its own patented remediation technologies, conducts research and development projects, gives lectures at universities, and organizes field trips to the Anshun site. The company plans to make a movie about the “healing” of the Anshun land in cooperation with a famous Chinese film company.
Project: XPeng Club: How Xpeng’s customers become ambassadors for energy-saving technologies (and the company’s brand)
Xpeng’s key project—called XPeng Club—is related to pillar S. In essence, it is a project to promote the Xpeng brand and energy-saving technologies. It is also a charity program.

Xpeng manufactures electric cars and provides leasing and auto insurance services. The company has approximately 13,000 employees.

The history of the project is as follows: at the initial stage, in order to create a loyal customer base, the company launched the X-moment initiative, which offered club members—owners of Xpeng electric cars—joint trips to provincial cities in China. This was an ecotourism experience, with stops at small farms and handicraft workshops across China.
The next step was to directly engage Xpeng electric car owners. The company launched the X-walker initiative: it organized charity events and “Open Days” at its dealerships, inviting Xpeng owners to act as ambassadors for the brand’s “green technologies”. XPeng Club members shared their experiences of driving electric cars and offered advice to potential buyers. In 2021, such “Xpeng Doors Open Days” were held in 10 major cities in China. The company plans to further expand the geography of such events.

Today, XPeng Club has become a kind of social hub for the company, aggregating Xpeng’s efforts related to pillar S. The project has become a successful example of synergy between the company’s marketing initiatives and social responsibility activities.
Project: Breaking the glass ceiling for women. Addressing the gender imbalance
Historically, the social role of women in China has been perceived in the context of traditional values. For example, Confucius discouraged men and women from walking on the same side of the street or even sitting at the same table. It was only after the 1949 revolution that women gained some economic rights, such as the right to work. However, even at the beginning of the 21st century, most high-level positions and jobs are still reserved for men. The country still lacks policies and mechanisms to increase the number of women in top leadership positions.

Huawei is China’s largest telecommunications company. It employs more than 180,000 people.

In 2020, Ms. Chen Lifang, Huawei Senior Vice President, signed the Declaration on the Establishment of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance, which allowed the company’s female representatives to participate in BRICS initiatives promoting women’s entrepreneurship in the BRICS countries and inclusion of women’s businesses in global value chains.
Women in Technology is another Huawei project to promote women’s entrepreneurship. It is a global initiative. For example, the company supports women in Indonesia through digital technology training programs; and in South Africa Huawei organizes a Cloud Boot Camp for women entrepreneurs to learn how to use cloud technologies to streamline business processes. The company has launched similar programs in Bangladesh, Kenya, Malaysia, and Ghana.

In March 2021, Huawei launched a special program to provide scholarships to female students in technical, scientific, and narrow specialties (STEM system). Upon successful graduation, these students will be given the opportunity to join the company as leading professionals.
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Alexander Briskin

Director of ESG Communications Department of Mikhailov and Partners

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