Studies on the Social Dimensions of Industrial Ecology series
Edited by Pauline Deutz, Donald I. Lyons and Jun Bi
Chapter 10: Institutional context of eco-industrial park development in China: environmental governance in industrial parks and zones
Lingxuan Liu, Bing Zhang and Jun Bi
Industrial parks and zones (IPZs) have been playing an essential economic role in China’s rapid development during the past three decades since the Reform and Opening-up. Over the same period, China’s industrialisation has engendered serious problems with the degradation of ecosystems and pollution of the environment. According to life cycle analysis (LCA), comprising detailed calculations of direct and indirect carbon emissions from production, construction, use, maintenance, the energy consumption (H. Wang et al. 2013), carbon footprint (Dong et al. 2013) and water consumption (Liang et al. 2011) of IPZs are becoming leading challenges to the country’s limited resources. Western observers have expressed concerns that IPZs are pollution havens (Eskeland and Harrison 2003; Cole 2004), but the pollution haven hypothesis is not merely a reference to geographical or spatial relocation of investment, industries or pollutions, avoiding regulations from the developed world. The phenomenon and its consequences cannot be explained without consideration of the institutional context (Cole and Fredriksson 2009) of specific countries and specific industries. In addition, current literature also shows that there is a need to explore the links between institutional arrangements and environmental policies. This is especially true for developing countries experiencing rapid economy growth and social change (Liu et al. 2012).
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