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Former GRI China head Yuan Yuan joins China-Britain Business Council

Yuan Yuan's role involves helping British businesses get up to speed with the latest sustainability regulations and initiatives in China.

Yuan Yuan, the former China head of sustainability standards non-profit Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), has been appointed by the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) as director of business environment programmes.

In her Beijing-based role, Yuan will provide a voice for British businesses in China and help them navigate China’s complex business and regulatory environment.  

Set up in 1954, CBBC is the United Kingdom’s national business network promoting trade and investment with China. 

Among the focus areas of Yuan’s job is advising UK companies on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) implications of the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s global development strategy, and where British firms can get involved in infrastructure development and renewable energy projects.

The pandemic hasn’t changed the attitude of our members [British businesses] towards China.

China’s public health system and poverty alleviation initiatives, previously areas that were off limits to private enterprise, are other areas where British businesses can now take an interest as reform gets underway in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Intellectual property rights is another major concern for British businesses entering China, Yuan noted.

A new area of focus will be looking at supporting Chinese business looking to enter the UK.

Yuan told Eco-Business that Covid-19, which originated in China, seems to have had little if any impact on the level of interest in China among CBBC members.

“The pandemic hasn’t changed the attitudes of our members towards China. We have continued to receive a lot of inquiries about how to identify the right partners in China and this number hasn’t been falling in the time since the pandemic began,” Yuan said.

CBBC has 1,000 members served by 100 staff from 13 offices located in the major provinces in China. 

Yuan comes on board after just over a year as senior manager for sustainability for CECEP Environmental Consulting, the consulting arm of state-owned conglomerate China Energy Conservation and Environment Protection Group. During her time with CECEP she also consulted to GRI.

In an interview with Eco-Business in August last year, Yuan talked about how China’s big corporations were living up to sustainability commitments and the impact of sustainability reporting in China.

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