Renewable Matter # 2 / Numero #2

Kickstarting the Circular Economy in China

by Carlo Pesso

The turn of the century definitely marked a tipping point. In 2004, Pan Yue, China’s Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection, one among the greenest and most outspoken Chinese leaders stated: “China can no longer afford to follow the West’s resources-hungry model of development and it should encourage its citizens to avoid adopting the developed world’s consumer habits... It’s important to make Chinese people not blatantly imitate Western consumer habits in order not to repeat the mistakes by the industrial development of the west over the past 300 years”. Ten years down the road, his message has somehow trickled down and may soon become mainstream.

The task is daunting considering the pressing need to provide a growing population of 1.3 billion with a greater standard of living, while income disparities have reached a thirty-year record peak. Resources may simply not suffice and, in certain areas, the environmental carrying...

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