Jianyu Zhang

Founder, Chief Representative and Vice President, EDF China Program


Areas of expertise:
China, emissions trading, green supply chain, environmental enforcement, China environmental and climate policy, China power sector

Jianyu Zhang helped found EDF’s China program. Since 1999, he has been responsible for its overall management, from goal setting and running programs to developing partnerships and fundraising. He is currently the longest-serving active head of all known foreign organizations’ China programs. Our success in China led to EDF becoming the first officially registered foreign environmental NGO in China under the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, following the final approval of China’s foreign NGO law, effective January 1, 2017.

Being an expert on environmental and public policies, with a focus on the application of Market-Based Instruments (MBIs) in solving environmental problems, Jianyu is known for his leadership and contribution to the establishment of China’s Carbon Trading System, the largest of its kind in the world. He has authored many peer-reviewed articles, columns and book chapters, and is a frequent commentator on environmental issues in the media in China.

Jianyu serves on many advisory boards, including the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) and the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center, and is a special advisor for the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED). He is a visiting fellow with the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, as well as a visiting professor with the School of Environment and Energy, Peking University.


Prior to joining EDF, Jianyu helped found and manage the first professional joint-venture environmental consulting firm, ERM, that China established in 1992. He served as China program advisor for the Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA), implementing the first cooperative Sino-US environmental project from 1997 to 1999.

Jianyu is a Fellow of the prestigious Aspen China Fellowship program and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He has served on boards of directors of China-based publicly traded companies and as an advisory board member for Fortune 500 companies. Zhang is an executive board director of the China Association for International NGO Cooperation (CANGO).

Jianyu has degrees from Tsinghua University (bachelor’s), Stanford University (master’s), and Carnegie Mellon University (Ph.D.). He recently completed his Ph.D. studies in Finance from the Chinese Academy of Social Science.