August 28, 2014

Finland’s GreenStream forges success in China

Representatives of Henglian paper mill host GreenStream team members in China.
Representatives of Henglian paper mill host GreenStream team members in China.

After nine years in China, including two years extensively building its energy efficiency business there, the Finnish energy management services firm, GreenStream Network, is achieving favourable results.

GreenStream’s success in China began last year when it signed a deal with Henglian Shandong Guanghua Paper Group, a paper manufacturer in Shandong province in China. GreenStream later closed an agreement with an affiliate of the largest electricity sector company in the world – the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC).

GreenStream’s biggest market by far is the ‘land of the dragon’. After all, according to GreenStream’s CEO Jussi Nykänen, China is not only the biggest market in the world but it also has the most significant environmental problems.

“They have polluted water, air and soil. Now they are determined to solve their environmental problems. Surprisingly, they have become one of the most innovative developers of policy tools for a cleaner environment,” Nykänen says.

GreenStream is using its extensive industry knowledge to help run active emissions trading pilot schemes and develop energy efficiency projects in China. In addition to its 80 emission reduction projects, GreenStream has 10 active energy efficiency projects in China and another 40 in the pipeline.

“We have worked a lot with Chinese energy companies to reduce energy inefficiencies.”

Finnish advantages in China

Nykänen believes Finnish companies have an advantage in China, especially in markets such as energy efficiency and clean technology.

“I think it’s quite easy for Finns to work with Chinese people for a number of reasons. First, because they value their reputation very highly, we can trust them to keep their promise. Similarly, Finns don’t over-promise their services. So the Chinese trust us and we trust them.”

The second reason is that Chinese companies are looking for the best technology in the world and they are turning to Finnish companies because they have a world-class reputation in cleantech.

“When they visit us and see our well-managed heavy industry and unpolluted nature, they realise we are good at environmental preservation and so they trust our cleantech expertise. Third, the Chinese always have a long-term strategy and when they start a business partnership they stay committed to it.”

Since its beginnings in 2001, the company has had to modify its business concept multiple times to adapt to continual changes in the industry.

“Our market has disappeared at least three times in the last 13 years. But we have always been able to rebuild and change direction quickly when needed. That has been our biggest advantage. The current business environment requires an ability to change and adapt fast.”

Text: Mark Badham

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