Futuribles Journal n° 324

Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

The "Circular Economy" in China. Is the Environment Becoming a Significant Factor in the Chinese Economic System?

China, with its phenomenal economic growth, has for some years been facing a rate of development, especially of manufacturing, that is leading to serious environmental problems (air, water and land pollution, and a build-up of waste of all kinds). This situation is generating considerable costs which, given China's prospects for further rapid growth, could well rise very rapidly.
As China has woken up to these problems, the government has, according to this article, launched a new strategy: the "circular economy", which aims to use resources as efficiently as possible and to protect the environment, on the model of industrial ecology. In order to do so, China is in the process of developing a framework of regulations and standards that the authors set out here, having first explained what the circular economy involves. They also describe various pilot schemes (eco-parks, eco-cities) created around the country, reflecting the strong commitment of the local authorities to these projects. Lastly, the authors analyse the advantages and drawbacks of this type of regulatory framework, as well as its chances of success.

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