Eric Heitz Receives the National Friendship Award of China
Eric Heitz, the CEO and co-founder of the Energy Foundation, today received the National Friendship Award of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. The award is the highest honor that the Chinese government can bestow on foreign experts and is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social progress.
Hosted annually before National Day by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, winners of the award are invited to Beijing to attend the awarding ceremony, meet with Chinese party and state leaders, and participate in National Day festivities. Approximately 50 foreign experts receive the National Friendship Award every year. From 1991-2004, a total of 800 foreign experts from 55 countries have accepted the accolade.
Eric Heitz has received the award having established, grown and directed the Energy Foundation China (EFC), an organization that has made great contributions to China’s energy and environment development. Under his leadership, EFC has supported over 1560 clean energy programs covering the eight sectors of transportation, buildings, industry, electric utilities, renewable energy, low-carbon development paths, environmental management and sustainable cities, cooperating with more than 440 organizations, including policy research institutes, academies, think tanks, standardization bodies and NGOs. In 15 years, EFC has helped raise more than US $200 million supporting clean energy programs in China. EFC has become the biggest overseas foundation dedicated to energy and environment, and has made critical contributions to China’s energy development.
“I am deeply honored to accept this award on behalf of all of the Energy Foundation China team. This is a reward that I share with everyone in the team, and marks 15 years of hard work and dedication to advance clean air and clean energy use in China”, said Heitz at the ceremony. “I am very proud of what the Energy Foundation China has accomplished and excited about the work that we still need to do to reach our goal of creating a ‘Beautiful China’”.
In March, 1999, Eric Heitz launched the China Sustainable Energy Programs (which later became EFC) with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Fundraising efforts were difficult at the beginning, but Mr Heitz and the foundation overcame many challenges and increased the annual fund from a few hundred thousand US dollars to US $35 million. As an expert in energy industry, Mr Heitz held discussions with Chinese decision-makers, sharing his knowledge of global best practices to influence the advancement of energy and environment related policy.