December 5, 2022

How Sustainable is Taiwan?

The demand for sustainability is gaining momentum in all sectors, building up faster than at any other time in the past, as more people discover the associated benefits. However, there is still a long way to go as the threats of global warming and other environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks intensify. To improve ESG rating and make the planet a better place for all, every country has to take extra measures. This post takes a closer look at Taiwan to determine its sustainability. Keep reading to learn more about Taiwan’s sustainability efforts, including its carbon footprint. We will also outline the main steps that should be used to improve sustainability in Taiwan.


What is Sustainability? 

Before looking at how sustainable Taiwan is, let’s start by understanding the meaning of the term. The term sustainability can be traced back to 1992 at the UN Rio Summit, which demonstrated that it is impossible to separate the environment from development. According to the summit, sustainability is a concept that seeks to prevent the depletion of resources available to the current generation so that they are also accessible to the latter ones. The concept seeks to emphasise that our actions today have huge impacts on future generations. 

In addition, sustainability is built with a huge emphasis on the interconnected nature of our planet. If a company in Taiwan has a high carbon footprint for emitting a lot of greenhouse gases, the effects are global and will be felt as far as the Arctic. Sustainability has, therefore, been extended and broken down into three criteria, which are used to rate corporates, cities, and organisation’s operations.

  • Environmental

This criterion helps to assess the impact of an entity on the environment. It factors in things like water use, impact on wildlife, greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, forests, and waste management. 

  • Social

The focus on sustainability cannot be complete without involving people. Therefore, every company or institution in Taiwan has to look at the welfare of the people, both in its systems and away. For example, putting a lot of effort into greening projects but having unethical practices at work is likely to pull down the ESG rating

  • Governance

The leadership of a city, business, or company is central to achieving sustainability. This means that for any entity in Taiwan to be sustainable, it needs good management and leadership. The leadership is important in setting the ESG agenda, allocating resources, and implementing sustainability plans. It is also responsible for generating ESG reports for stakeholders to read and appreciate the efforts. 

The Importance of Sustainability for Taiwan

The primary goal for improving sustainability is helping the planet become a better place for all. Taiwan, its cities, industries, institutions, and residents will also enjoy the following specific benefits. 

  • Improving sustainability is crucial in promoting better health in society. 
  • A higher ESG rating for a company in Taiwan can help it to attract more investors. 
  • Focus on sustainability can help your company to improve sales and profit margin. 
  • It is an excellent way to strengthen bonds between companies, businesses, schools, and communities. 
  • Simplifies compliance with local and international laws. Companies find this crucial, especially when targeting international expansion. For example, the EU has stringent laws on sustainability, and only companies with high ESG ratings are allowed to access it. Other jurisdictions, from New Zealand to Hong Kong, are also creating their own ESG policies or guidelines. 
  • Helps to intensify the utility of resources. This implies that we are able to optimise the use of earth resources without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs too. 
  • Improving sustainability in Taiwan to win more investors into the jurisdiction. This is crucial in helping to build the country into a stronger trading and financial hub globally.

Taiwan is Lagging Behind Peers in Sustainability Matters 

According to the global sustainability survey, Taiwan was ranked 7th among the 11 polled countries by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). In the report published in Taipei Times, Taiwan ranked well ahead of the United States and New Zealand on the D&B competitive analysis based on ESG performance. The UK ranked at the top, followed closely by Germany, while France, Sweden, Canada, and Hong Kong followed in that order, respectively. 

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) of Taiwan has been working hard to craft and implement strategies to operate more sustainably. However, the highly industrialised economy, largely driven by electricity generated using 81.5% coal and natural gas, has made the country one of the heaviest greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitters. 

Since the Kyoto Protocol, the Taiwan administration has been seeking to achieve a balance between environmental sustainability and energy security. Taiwan’s greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions make up about 0.6% of the total global amount, implying that it is one of the largest emitters. This is why the government is working on aligning every operation with the requirements of the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions and target reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

When the story of the sustainability efforts of Taiwan is told, we cannot miss mentioning that its industries are central in driving the global tech niche, which is primary to the growing need for higher ESG ratings. For example, its industries are known for producing most of the semiconductors used in electric vehicle manufacturing and photovoltaic solar panels. 

How Taiwan can Improve its Sustainability

Although committed to improving its sustainability rating, Taiwan is in an unfortunate position because it is yet to get recognized as a sovereign state by most global bodies. This means that its potential is limited because it cannot access and use global finance for sustainability-related projects. However, this should not stand on the path to its focus on sustainability. 

To improve its sustainability, the effort by Taiwan has to be narrowed down to individual businesses and organisations. So, here are some of the best strategies and activities that Taiwanese companies and organisations can use to improve their sustainability rating

Use Locally Sourced Materials for Industrial and Other Uses 

Taiwan is known as a global manufacturing hub. However, the source of raw materials can quickly increase the carbon footprint. If your raw materials are sourced from the furthest end of the globe, there is a risk of a lot of emissions being released into the air during transportation. Instead, you should consider using locally sourced materials and only buy from afar when not available in the neighbourhood. 

Where possible, companies and government departments in Taiwan can work with firms in the country or neighbouring states, such as India, China, and Thailand, for the supplies they want. Remember to always carry out a comprehensive assessment of such shifts to local supplies to determine the impacts for your firm with accuracy. 

Adopt Training for Sustainability

As we have pointed out, sustainability is a collective consideration. Therefore, everyone has to get on board for significant results to be achieved. This is why improving Taiwan’s sustainability credentials must incorporate ESG training for different stakeholders. 

By working with the right coaching partners, it becomes easy to conceptualise sustainability. One of the best partners to consider for ESG coaching is Climate Fresk. They work with experts in sustainability and use the latest research findings to help subjects achieve their sustainability goals. 

Climate Fresk believes that when you equip everyone with the right skill, it becomes easy to achieve what was otherwise too challenging. In Taiwan, the high reliance on fossil energy has made it lag behind because of high rates of emissions. Therefore, Climate Fresk can help companies and organisations, government departments, and individuals to visualise alternatives and craft strategies for cutting down greenhouse gases (GHG) and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Shift to Electric Vehicles for Transportation  

As we have indicated, Taiwan is one of the largest producers of semiconductors used in the electric vehicles industry. However, it is sad that the country is not a leader in adopting this new mode of transport which is way cleaner than using fossil fuels. 

If you run a Taiwan-based company, head a government agency, or lead an institution working in the island jurisdiction, a shift to electric vehicles can have a huge impact on the ESG rating. In addition, you should encourage staff to cycle, walk, or even live close to the workplace for better health. 

Shift to Alternative Sources of Energy 

Taiwan, like most jurisdictions along the tropics, enjoys a lot of sunshine on most days of the year. This means there is enough solar energy that can be harnessed to power your organisation or institution. As a result, your organisation in Taiwan should consider installing solar panels to reduce its carbon footprint and cut down energy bills by a significant margin. You might also want to strategically install windmills to generate more power for your facility. 

Improve Energy Efficiency 

Another awesome method of raising the sustainability rating of your company in Taiwan is improving the efficiency of your system. This means that you will need to use less energy but still achieve high production targets. Here are some suggestions that you should consider for enhancing energy efficiency and cutting down your carbon footprint.

  • Using energy management systems

In most institutions, workplaces, and offices, a lot of energy is lost by leaving the systems on when no one is using them. For example, your company will incur a bigger energy bill and higher carbon footprint if lights are left on overnight or during weekends. An energy management system uses sensors to note when rooms are not occupied and automatically turn off the lights. See, you will never have to worry that employees forgot to turn off the power when leaving for home. 

  • Installing CONTINEWM in Your HVAC System 

CONTINEWM is one of the latest innovations designed to help improve the efficiency of HVAC systems. The device is installed on the front part of the heat changer and works by releasing negative charges that facilitate a smooth flow of air through the HVAC system. By clearing the positive charges, CONTINEWN can help cut down the energy use of your HVAC system by up to 50%. Furthermore, CONTINEWM helps to improve air quality and the cost of installation is also low. 

Taiwan is one of the industrial behemoths on the globe today, and its focus on sustainability is laudable. However, it has a long way to go, especially for its intensive reliance on fossil fuels. The good thing is that every person, organisation, and institution can help to improve Taiwan's ESG rating by using the strategies listed in this post. Do not be left behind: focus on improving your company’s ESG and start by pulling down your greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon footprint.