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31 October 2016

Volvo co-hosts Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity summit

First published27/10/2016
Experts from around the world gathered at the Global Sustainable Infrastructure and Connectivity summit in Beijiing, China.

Tsinghua University, in partnership with Volvo Group, held the summit, which saw approximately 180 experts, academics, business leaders and media gather to discuss ways to promote sustainable infrastructure construction and connectivity.

“Sustainable development is high on the Chinese government’s agenda, and a key engine in driving economic growth and regional development,” says Niklas Nillroth, VP environment and sustainability at Volvo Construction Equipment.

Infrastructure plays an important role in economic growth, social development, job creation and poverty alleviation.

However, expanding infrastructure services effectively remains a challenge, especially in developing countries. With further mega-projects such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative being developed, finding new ways to realise global sustainable infrastructure and connectivity, and propel sustainable regional development by technological innovation, multilateral cooperation and exercising responsibilities is in sharp focus.

The Belt and Road initiative is a development strategy that focuses on improving transport connections and cooperation between China and its neighbouring counrtries.

At the summit topics discussed ranged from how to enhance the ability of sustainable development to infrastructure investment and financing issues, and how Chinese enterprises can act more socially responsibly.

“If current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us,” said Qian Xiaojun, vice president of the School of Economics and Management, director of Green Economy and Sustainable Development Research Centre of Tsinghua University.

“Increasingly, shortage of non-renewable resources and global climate change are testing the sustainability of human society and economic development. Infrastructure is a fundamental public service, for production activities and people’s livings. Sustainable infrastructure, to some extent, determines a sustainable overall economic operation.

“To secure infrastructure projects that are environmentally protective, and reach energy saving and emission reduction targets, effective policy making and supervising, industrial standard unifying and technological upgrading, and marketisation are all needed. All relevant interests should form a joint force, reach a consensus, and realise the common goal of sustainable development.”

Volvo’s Bill Law, said: “Volvo puts a high priority on sustainable development. In 2014, Volvo Construction Equipment launched a Construction Climate Challenge project in the global society that aims to build an effective dialogue platform for the industry and  promote communication among academics, business and government on the topic of climate action. It also provides funding for research and promotes and shares its findings, in a bid to achieve the goal of reducing negative impacts on environment, and addressing the climate change challenge.”

During the summit, Volvo Group launched a white paper on transport solutions and connectivity, which illustrates the findings of various worldwide case studies in this field, while analysing the current situation of sustainability in China, under the background of the Belt and Road Initiative.

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