Eyeing greener fields, PwC shifts China climate specialist to UK

February 23, 2012

Allan Zhang, a specialist in China climate change policy and sustainable business has appointed to PwC’s UK Sustainability and Climate Change team.

Zhang previously worked with PwC’s Economics team in the UK, and the firm’s China Business Desk supporting inward and overseas investment linked to China. Prior to joining PwC, he worked in China’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (presently MOFCOM) for 13 years, and was Director for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asia-Europe Meeting affairs.

“Allan’s secondment comes at a critical point in climate change and sustainability agenda for China, and businesses operating there. The 12th Five Year Plan was a clear indication that the pace is picking up on environmental and sustainability issues. With the scale of their economic growth and impact, it will move the issues to the heart of national and global competitiveness for businesses operating in China,” said Malcolm Preston, global lead sustainability and climate change, PwC said

Zhang was previously the leader of the PwC sustainability and climate change team based in Beijing, and joins the UK team on a two year secondment. He will be supporting the firm’s public and private sector clients in understanding and addressing sustainability and climate change issues in China.

Speaking to website BusinessGreen, Zhang said the secondment would help him to learn about new services that could be adapted for the Chinese arm of the business, specifically around the development of green strategies, supply chain management plans, and improved carbon disclosure.

 "In China we're strong on environmental due diligence, we do a lot of Clean Development Mechanism [UN-approved carbon offset] projects and measuring of carbon footprints, but now we want to expand the business to include more areas like green strategy," he said.

He added that the number of Chinese firms taking steps to curb their environmental impact is limited because of the lack of mandatory green regulations.

"The main barrier is from China itself," he said. "Nearly everything is voluntary so there's no legal obligation for a company to do something. You need to talk to people and try to convince them this is something worth investing in."

However, he added that there is a gradual shift towards mandatory reporting rules, driven by financial and industry watchdogs.