An intriguing little piece from Marcus Gee in today’s Globe about natural gas engine-maker Westport Innovations Inc., one of the few Canadian companies to take advantage of the huge money to be made helping China green itself before the Olympics.

Westport and its US-based partner, Cummins Inc., have equipped 3,500 Beijing buses with natural gas engines, as the Chinese government scrambles to clean its air before the international media descends in August.

But where are the other Canadian companies? It turns out the Australians and Europeans are doing boffo business, while Canadian producers of green technology are sitting on the sidelines. Seems odd, no? We’re an international leader in clean coal technologies, among other things green and innovative, right?

According to David Fung, Chariman of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, it’s partly because we’re being so gosh darn ‘Canadian’ about it (my words, not his).

Of Canada’s predominantly small, independent environment technology companies, Fung says “They have the technology and the capabilities, but they refuse to set themselves up in a way that would allow them to succeed.”

Westport’s David Demers agrees, saying “a lot of Canadian companies go with a naive view that they’ll go over and spend a couple of days in a hotel in Beijing and get a big purchase order and then they’ll send a container of the stuff,” he says. “It takes a lot more sophisticated approach than that.”

The key, according to both men, is commitment and perseverance. Doing business in China requires time: months, maybe more, before serious agreements can be made.

It’s time, Gee argues, that we start pushing and stop waiting our turn.