Photo: White Peak Group CEO and Founding Partner Jesper Jos Olsson
China-Sweden Hammarby Eco City Alliance, initiated and founded by leading Swedish enterprises operating in China including White Peak, Sweco, Envac and Business Sweden, held an event on Chinese and Swedish collaboration on sustainable cities, and celebrated its one-year anniversary at the Swedish Embassy in China, upon the celebration of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Sweden and China.
Established for one year, the Alliance has further expanded collaboration with leading Swedish companies including ABB, Assa Abloy and IKEA, with their executives signing agreements with White Peak, the largest European residential developer in China, at the ceremony.
The event is the fifth in the series focusing on Nordic opportunities amid China’s rapid urban development. Its aim is to promote cooperation, the exchange of experiences and business opportunities between the Nordics and China, especially for those related to the urban environment, health, and wellbeing.
“In order to create a truly sustainable world, for ourselves as well as future generations, it is key for us to succeed in developing cities with good living habitats by using long-lasting sustainable technologies,” said H.E. Helena Sangeland, Swedish Ambassador to China. “Cooperation to meet common challenges and for the common good is perhaps more important than ever.”
Representatives from the Alliance discussed how they are bringing the vision of sustainable urban development to reality, inspired by Hammarby Sjöstad, a smart eco-city and a global model for urban redevelopment in Stockholm, Sweden.
White Peak, together with its partners in the Alliance, are realizing the idea of sustainable urban development by redeveloping a former industrial area into green, innovative, digital, and healthy eco city with their first project, “Yantai Hammarby Eco City” in Yantai, Shandong province.
“As a company focusing on sustainable urban development, our alignment with China has never been stronger. Sustainability, governance, trust and quality are today key for any company doing business in China and it is also these shared values that from the beginning have defined White Peak’s company culture. The strong sales performance of our Yantai Hammarby Eco City revealed the growing interest of Chinese customers in healthy and sustainable lifestyles, especially after COVID-19,” said White Peak Group CEO and Founding Partner Jesper Jos Olsson.
At the event, White Peak signed procurement agreements with four multinational companies including ABB Group, Assa Abloy, Envac AB, and IKEA to provide sustainable Swedish products and services for the Yantai Eco City. The total value of Swedish products to be purchased for the Eco City projects amount to more than RMB 100 million.
“We are integrating sustainability into every aspect of our retail operations. It is pleasant to see Swedish companies working together in China to apply sustainable solutions to Chinese consumers,” according to Freda Zhang, IKEA China Commercial Vice President.
IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishing retailer, will provide sustainable ranges and solutions to contribute to current and future Eco City projects.
“Sustainable development is essential to our communities and the key to our long-term strategy and daily operations in China and the world for ABB. In ABB, we are running operations in a sustainable way and providing products, solutions and services to make cities and industries cleaner, safer, more resilient and more sustainable,” said Zhiqiang Zhang, Senior Vice President of ABB Group and Managing Director of ABB in China. “And that brings ABB and the Alliance together to build a demonstrating case and one of the solutions for China’s sustainable urban development,” he added.
As a technology leader in Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, ABB will provide the project with intelligent products and solutions to help optimize energy allocation and utilization of buildings.
Assa Abloy, a global leader in access solutions, and Envac AB, one of the most innovative players in the global waste collection industry and inventor of the pneumatic waste collection system, as signing suppliers will provide intelligent locks and a vacuum waste management system, respectively, to White Peak’s Yantai Hammarby Eco City project.
The sustainable vision of the China-Sweden Hammarby Eco City Alliance links the shared values of the two nations.
Sweden has long been a global leader in ESG and sustainability. At the same time, China’s devotion to sustainable development is resulting in great achievements with promising prospects.
“As Ambassador of Sweden to China, I have taken notice of my host country’s ambitions, not only to achieve long-term sustainable development, but also to reform for increased international cooperation,” the Swedish Ambassador said in her opening remarks at the event.
As they continue on the path of urbanization and the pursuit for high-quality growth, Chinese cities are tackling the challenges of minimizing environmental impact, enabling citizens to enjoy a good living environment, and ensuring sustainable economic growth. Technology and practices from Sweden, in this case, will serve the needs of many cities in China with the Hammarby Eco City representing the model example.
Its first project, an urban redevelopment project that sits in the center of Shandong’s costal city Yantai, is now seeing buildings rising, and its phase one is planned to be completed by 2022.
While still under construction, the Eco City has already obtained the “Very Good” rating from BREEAM, the world’s longest established method of benchmark rating for buildings’ sustainability.
The initial phase, which includes two land parcels White Peak acquired in December 2018, will be developed into around 2,000 homes, an ice hockey arena, as well as office and retail facilities.
Sitting in the southeastern part of Stockholm, Hammarby Sjöstad was known in the 1990s as a run-down industrial and residential area. After years of re-development, it is now one of Stockholm’s most pleasant residential districts and one of the world’s most successful models for urban renewal districts.
The impact of COVID-19 is raising people’s awareness of healthy and sustainable living, which is reflected in the sales statistics of the Yantai Eco City, which topped the chart for sales achieved among all projects in Yantai in April, said Olsson.
The features introduced from the original Hammarby model, including dual-way air purification system, kitchen water purification system, triple sound insulation systems, a dimensional green system, a vacuum waste collection system, and SMART management systems, attracted local home buyers seeking to build the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Empowered by a growing number of Swedish partners, the Hammarby model will soon be introduced in more cities in China, starting in White Peak’s core markets of Shandong, Hebei and Liaoning provinces.
First embarking on its China journey in Shandong 15 years ago, White Peak is now in 10 Chinese cities. It has developed more than 20 projects and built more than 2 million square meters of properties.
A widely recognized frontrunner in sustainability, White Peak was awarded Regional Sector Leader and ranked first among Asian residential developers in the 2019 GRESB Assessment.