众所周知，过去的工业革命带动了全球经济增长，改变了我们生活的世界。然而，这一辉煌业绩的背后却是赤裸裸的贫富悬殊、血淋淋的利益冲突和严重的生态失衡，人们不得不重新质疑其社会发展方式和运作管理体制。早在几十年前，罗马俱乐部就在“增长的极限（The Limits to Growth）”的报告中，警告现有的经济增长模式将给地球和人类自身带来了毁灭性的灾难。为此，二十一世纪的绿色革命通过化解工业化革命带来的生态环境风险，试图解决经济发展与资源短缺的冲突。
新中国成立以来，先后经历了毛泽东的“政治创新”、邓小平的“经济创新”、邓小平后的“技术创新”、习近平的“绿色创新”四个不同的阶段，每个阶段的创新都与其发展观密切相关。美国诗人缪丽尔·鲁凯泽（Muriel Rukeyser）说过，宇宙是由故事而非原子构成(The Universe is made of stories, not atoms)。“中国创新”作为当今“中国研究”（China Studies）的重大事件，也是由无数激动人心的故事构成。
中国通过“一带一路”战略，大力开拓新兴市场、淘汰落后产能、优化产品结构、创新管理技术，希望进一步提升中国的国际竞争力，吸引更多的国际合作者。正如国际战略创新专家安纽·古普塔（Anil K. Gupta）在《展望2020：中国创新之路》一文中所言：“中国面临的独特机遇和挑战赋予了中国成为世界创新主宰者的潜质，在全球整合的经济条件下，许多重要的创新活动来自中国，中国在诸多重要领域面临机会与挑战，主要包括：能源、环境、基础建设、人口密度、老龄化、生物技术、以及移动设备等，中国应重点以此开展创新活动”。
未来学大师托夫勒（Alvin Toffler）在几十年前曾预测人类社会从农业化、工业化之后将进入信息化的“第三次浪潮”（The Third Wave），那么二十一世纪人类社会所呈现的绿色创新，将在生态发展、低碳发展、循环发展三个方面，汇集社会有效资源，成为引领经济社会可持续发展的“第四次浪潮”。
The Impact and Development of Green Innovation in China
Prof. Dr. Haifeng HUANG
Director of PHBS Center for Green Economy at Peking University
Executive Chairman of Ecological Development Union International
It is well known that theIndustrial Revolution, occurring over the past three centuries, has fueled global economic growth and revolutionized the world we live in.However, the backdrop of this marvelous progress is marred bythe increasinglyevident gap between the wealthy and the poor, fierceconflicts of interests, and catastrophic environmental damage and destruction. People have been forced to realize that present the pattern of social development and the operation management system is flawed. A few decades ago, the Club of Rome, in its report “The Limits to Growth”, warned that the existing mode of economic development will bring catastrophic disaster tothe earth and humankind. Therefore, the green revolution of the 21st century attempts to resolve the ecological risk brought about by the industrial revolutionand further settle the conflicts between economic development and resource management.
As for China, in 1978, China began the reform and opening of its market to the international community. It has achieved substantial economic success with social stability for the past 37 years. However, this success has been at the cost of nature’s depletion, resource wastage and environmental pollution. The Chinese government has gradually come to understand the full implications of these worsening conditions. The country is going through a steep learning curve in relation to upholding environmental protection. Along with corporate changes, both social responsibilities and public awareness are maturing. Responding to voices from development agencies, research institutions, private and civil society alike, specific jurisprudence and frameworks have been developed to mitigate climate change and economic impact alongside the social re-engineering endeavor to a sustainable harmonious growth. China’s Green innovation policy faces two great challenges. First, there is the need to establish a green economy that encourages Green innovation. Second, the implementation gap between the central integral planning departments and regional governments needs to be closed with regard to different regional economies, fragmented environmental targets and methodologies.
These gaps need to be addressed. The question at stake is how to transform the pattern of economic development, to practically change the acquisitive attitude on development from “pollute fist, treat second”, to promote Green Innovation in systems, management, technology and regulation, so as to foster an ecologically sustainable development path. Based on the factual conditions of different districts, a proper custom-made environmental model has to be implemented. Effective Chinese Green Innovation requires the development of laws, systems, and policies that promote public participation in environmental activities as well a transparent governmental decision-making process that invites further social participation.
1.Background on the Green Innovation
Academics globally haveexpressed their opinions on “innovation”. No matterthe concepts of maketization and globalization urged in the last century, or the informatization and ecological development (greenization) emerged at the beginning of this century, they have highlightedthe innovative passion of human society onimproving resource productivity.
Over the 20th century, nations from around the world have been obsessed withGDP measurements as the only reference to economic development, which has led to exhaustive exploitation, and resulted in the current intercontinental and intergenerational unfairness. The index of healthy life and happiness for modern people isthreatened by environmental pollution and climate change as well. The blind pursuit of quantity-and-output value, known as the “high pollution, high emission, high consumption” development outlook is a severe impediment to advancing sustainable development forbenefit the humankind.
In Oct. 2008, UNEP proposed a global development view “Green New Deal”which aims to set a fair, inclusive and continuous social economic order by promoting each country’s green innovative abilities.Accordingly, the quality of economic development, environmental protection and pursuit of harmonious development between humanity and nature have become the strongest voices of this era.
2.Discussingthe Road of China’s Innovation Process
Local and foreign scholarshave focused more on the technological level of China’s innovation. In fact, China has, for more than a century, been exploring its own road to innovation, such asthe innovation exploration of “adapting foreign things for China’suse” during Xinhai Revolution, the innovation struggle of “ideology” in revolutionary movements, andthe innovation destruction of “smashing Confucianism” inthe Cultural Movement. China’s abundant ideas of innovation are so complicated and unique that it presents a significant challenge forChinese Studies experts at home and abroad. No matter “The Westernization Movement”, “May 4th Movement”, “The Cultural Movement”, or the other movements concerning politics, economics and cultural affairs, the promotion and the destruction ofinnovative ideas within Chinesesociety are closely linked with the history and socioeconomic environment.
Since the PRC was founded, the concept of innovation has experienced four differentstages; chronologically they are Mao’s “Political Innovation”, Teng’s “Economical Innovation”, After-Teng’s “Technological Innovation” and Xi’s “Green Innovation”.The style of innovationis different in each stageand is closely related to its period of outlook on development. American poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, “The Universe is made of stories, not atoms”. “Chinese Innovation”, as an important event of the current “China Studies”, is also made of innumerable exciting stories .
In terms of “Political Innovation”, as the largest developing country in the world, China selected a different political structure from most of the other countries. The Communist Party, with President Mao as its representative, witnessed the fact that 120 years ago, Imperial China’s agricultural civilization collapsed under the might of the emerging industrial civilizations and was greatly humiliated.This calamity united a group of excellent intellectuals who soughtfor independence and gradually expelledforeigninfluences and blockades through “self-reliance and self-making” in establishingChina’s primitive industrial system.Communist intellectuals have, from the beginning, demonstrated innovative political means with Chinese features.
But the “Political Innovation” was not without long-term negative side effects, and gave rise to “Economic Innovation”,as advocated by Teng’s “Economic Reform”, in whichthe primary focus was to greatly reduce poverty.Thus, the“Economic Innovation” started as an economic system, economic structure and means of economic development, including the transformation from highly-centralized planned-economy to the energetic market economy, from the poor agricultural rural society to the rich industrial urban society, from “closed and semi-closed” society to “open” society. It is “Economic Innovation” that fully mobilized the enthusiasm and creativity of hundreds upon millions of people. China has successfullyreduced the poverty-stricken population from two hundred and fifty million to twenty million, which not only introduced lots of peasants from remote areas to social development, but also brought China into international society.China has shouldered global responsibility and the system, management, policy and methods that were involvedbecameamajor focal point for the world.
Next “Technological Innovation”, by opening up new markets, eliminating backward productivities, optimizing the industrial structure, innovatively managing productdevelopment and supply-chains, and seizing the heights of industry have allgreatly raised the core-competitiveness of Chinese enterprises. Thusgradually realizing the transformation of “Made in China” to “Created in China”.China has become the country with the highest level of intellectual property in the world.
Lastly, “Green Innovation” is the original extensive development pattern designed to mitigate the “high input, high consumption, high emission” growth strategy that has generated outrageous levels of environmental degradation, andgreatly inhibitedsustainable development of China’s economy. China’s leader of the new generation Mr. Xi has repeatedly emphasized “We want both gold, silver hills and clean water, green mountains as well.Rather clean water, green mountains than gold, silver hills, and in fact nature is treasure.” The theory of “two hills” describes in details the development outlook of “Ecological Civilization”, and is an important part of the governance ideas of present China. China has abandoned the old development view of uncontrolled exploitation of resources, environment and cheap labor sacrifice, and is completing the transformation of “increasing by speed” to “increasing by quality” known as the “new normal” economy. The “Ecological Civilization” construction is an inheritance and innovation of the agricultural and industrial civilization, and conforms to the direction in which human civilization can develop sustainably.
3.Researching Relevant Theories about Green Innovation
According to Schumpeter’s theory (Schumpeter 1883-1950), the concept of innovation covers an extremely broad range, including but not limited to systems, management, technology and products. System innovation could be divided into the areas of policy and regulation, and management innovation involves cultural factors to some extent. Schumpeter defines management changes as falling under the umbrella of system innovation, while product development is included in technology innovation (Schumpeter 1934). In other arenas, scholars define innovation to include introducing new products and production methods, expanding markets, seeking new sources of raw and processed materials, and establishing new forms of industrial organization (Hellström 2007).In academia, “Green Innovation” has not yet received any precise definition as an academic concept. Anything with the innovativenovelty and characteristic value and can achieve resource-saving and environmental-promoting can be referred to as “Green Innovation”. Innovation master Schumpeter summarizes “innovation” as Product Innovation, Technology Innovation, Marketing Innovation, Resources AllocationInnovation and Organizational Innovation.
Clearly, the outcome of Green Innovation will be new products, updated production methods and new service systems via ‘servitization’. This type of progress comes not only from enterprises’ behavior regarding environmental protection, but also from law, regulation, government policy, and cultural background of the institutions. Technology, organizational behaviors, and the outlooks of society also contribute to environmental improvement through innovation. Put broadly, innovation plays an important role in environmental preservation in two aspects. One is the direct product and process of innovation to mitigate environmental loads directly; another is an indirect realization through environmentally friendly procurement innovation, such as viably sustainable products and service systems. Both methodologies, viewed holistically, well serve the purpose of encouraging the harmonious and sustainable development of the economy, society and the environment. Effective GreenInnovation follows the principles of ecological economics in reducing resource consumption and improving the comprehensive efficiency of industry while preserving the environment. Different from profit-led innovation, environmental innovation includes green technology, environmental management innovation, environmental market mechanisms, environmental statutes, systems and frameworks, and eventually cultural-social value practices.
In sum, “Green innovation” concentrates more on the resources allocation and organizational innovation.As anapproachto transfer resources from low output to high output, it aims at establishing resource collector and wealth amplifier, consequently enhancing the output of available resources. “Green innovation” resembles the concepts “sustainable innovation”, “ecological innovation” and “environmental innovation” in meaning, whose connotation of research is divided into three phases:
(1)Technical and researching level: to take environmental protection innovation technology as the central task;
(2)Industrial and managing level: to take industrial sustainability research as the central task, involving green economy, green technology, green GDP, green finance, green management, etc. “Green innovation” in this level is a generalized innovation, going beyond the limited technological innovation, technique innovation and product innovation, includingorganizational innovation, managing innovation and systematic innovation.
(3)Political and juristic level: to take research of Green Innovation in the setting of developing an ecological civilization as the central task. On 11th Sept. 2015, China passed the Overall Plan for the Reform of Ecological Civilization System, which has extended “Green Innovation” to the juristic level.
4. Demonstrating China’s Features of Green Innovation
Chinese Green Innovation has progressed through various stages from recognition to theory, problem-solving to policy stipulation, and the extension of individual experience to best practices. Blended with international wisdom, domestic insights and regional diversity, China is on the right path in developing its environmental policy, industry systems and frameworks, where it can approximate the following key process.
After 37years of unprecedented economic developmentChinais facing unparalleled environmental pressurecompared to other countriesin the world, which was caused by the fragility of China’s natural environment, the extensive way in which the economy has grown,the lack of the environmental supervision, the increasing sharp conflict between resource management and economic growth, and the big gap, which still exists, between the speed of improving environmental quality and people’s demands. The target of the reform is to promote innovation, which is the only way to develop the economy while conserving resources and protecting the environment.
In 2009, the Development Mechanism of China’s Green Economy and the Research of Policy Innovation project was launched during the annual meeting of the commission of China’s Environment and Developing International Cooperation, and their aim was to provide the Chinese government with strategicand practical policy advice on how to promote the development of green economy. During the 13th five-year plan, China will use Green Innovation to balance economic development and environmental quality, by improving the quality and keeping the steady growth at the same time. The premise of Green Innovation is to transform the way in which the economy is developed, and to form new growth points in green economy through innovation and management.
What are theChinesefeatures of Green Innovation? The essence of Green Innovation is to enhance the efficiency of social resources, to createthe power which adapts well to society adjustments, economic reform and productivity increase, and to make regulations that conform to sustainable development of social economy. Facing the problem of “high input, high consumption, high pollution, low output, low quality, low profit”, which is the result of China’s industrialization, Green Innovation will give up the economic development pattern whose economy growth relies purely on resource input, export demand and investment, and will put an end to the behaviors that exclusively focus on GDP, ignore the environmental cost, and squandering of land and other natural resources for short term profit. The quantity-driving one will be changed into a quality-driving one, and by economizing resources as well as reducing pollution; it will become the whole society’s conscious action to become a “two-type society”, which is both an environmentally-friendly one and a resource-saving one. The idea of green, low-carbon and recycling development will be formed and advanced.
5 Crucial Measures to Carry Out Green Innovation
In order to develop green economy in China, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection announced four new specific targets enabling Green Innovationpolicies, market mechanism and technology innovation. First, China must increase its ecological performance by upgrading key industries. Second, it should recycle waste with a strong emphasis on recycling electronic waste. Third, it needs to develop a regional green economy policy, and lastly review the key economic policy matrix to benefit from the sound development of the green economy.
China has already had the political and social atmosphere for Green Innovation. The 18th National Congress of the CPC has announced that the construction of ecological civilization,which forms the driving force behind Green Innovation, will be implemented throughoutthe whole society. Specifically as follows:
(1)Promoting the formation and the implementation of policies on Green Innovation.
(2)Establishing environmental cost-burden mechanisms, such as making the payment for emissions of contamination higher than the cost of controlling for emissions by enterprises themselves and thereby lead enterprises to reduce pollution.
(3)Pushing the “greening” process in aspects of economic structure, production mode and lifestyle.
The common health crisis caused by smog and contaminated food informs the whole society that Green Innovation can bring dramatic improvements to the living environment, gather up new industrial growth points, promote the optimizing and updating of traditional industry and also gradually reduce energy consumption and pollution emission. Green Innovation is embodied in four aspects:
(1)Idea Innovation. This is the precondition for realizing Green Innovation. The Nobel Prize Laureatein Economic Science, James A. Mirrlees, emphasizes the importance of the idea of Green GDP. He has reinterpreted the value of economic development from an environmental perspective. In China the green development strategy, which focuses on promoting low pollution, recycling economy and environmental protection, has been brought up right after a brand-new green development view.
(2)Scientific and Technological Innovationis an important guarantee for transforming the way of development from extensive to efficient. Scientific Technology Innovation is the general name of all the scientific and technological activities,of which, themain contents are protecting the environment, improving the ecological condition and promoting sustainable development. It includes product research, craftwork design and material exploitation, which feature high efficiency, retrenchment and environmental protection.
(3)Market Innovation. Is the major driving force behind realizing green development, which encompassesconsumption habits that encourage and spread low-carbon, recycling and green attitudes. Thus, increasing and strengthening the ecological awareness and the concept of green consuming among public. Additionally, market management and supervision are enhanced, and detection systems for product quality are increased. The development of identification systems for green standards and green products is perfected. Whilst, the extensive market for green products is under exploration and utilized strengthening Green Innovation.
(4)Institution Innovation. It has been stated in institutional economics that institutional structure and institutional change play key roles in influencing an economy’s efficiency and development. An efficient and rational arrangement for institution will facilitate the solving of many existing ecological problems. As the fundamental guarantee for Green Innovation, Institutional Innovation is divided into compulsory institutional arrangement and non-compulsory institution arrangement. Law, administration, economy and other compulsory measures are taken to achieve Green Innovation, while non-compulsory institutional arrangement refers to rooting environmental values in the society and raising people’s awareness of environmental protectionthrough education on environment and legislation.
Concrete measures on Green Innovation are as follows:
First,promote Green Innovation on macro decisions,opinions from experts should be considered by governments at all levels when formulating policies on economy and technology.Therefore, environmental protection issupposed to be the main guider and restriction forgovernmentdecisions.
Second,promote Green Innovationpolicy on market competition. Improve construction of credit systemsfor environmental enterprises, build Green Finance systems, and formulate green-credit policy.
Third, promote Green Innovation on production costs management. An important step to take is tomandate thatenvironmental cost be included in green taxes and fees. Next, increase oil and coal resource tax at the mining stage.Togive tax incentives to the enterprises thatimplement environmental projects,apply environmental protection technologies to equipment and get comprehensive utilization of resources. To establishlaws on Environmental Protection Tax, which promote internalizing of environmental cost. Changes to the tax regime can be utilized to improve firms’motivation for pollution reduction. Additionally, to formulate concrete policy that adds environmental cost to green prices. One method is to use price as punishment for various key industries wherein environmental concerns are lacking, such as: cement, electricity,aluminum, etc. Also, formulate a policy that adds environmental cost to green trades.
Finally, lead Green Innovation on lifestyle. The new Environmental Protection Law has made a comprehensive provision for public’s environmental protection rights and obligations. It appeals to higher awareness of environmental protection among people, and a low-carbon economical life. It encourages the public to turn to environment-friendly products and regenerative products, and to classify wasteful living, etc.
6. A Future Outlook ofGreen Innovation
China has not yet completed its industrialization, but its ecological environment has already paid a high cost for economic growth. When environmental protection conflicts with economic development, the important issue becomes how to implement GreenInnovation effectively. If living conditions cannot be improved for its citizens, achieving the realization of China’s ambitious growth targets will be only a hollow victory. Chinese GreenInnovation needs to mobilize fully the enthusiasm of the state, enterprises and individuals in order to integrate effectively the market mechanism and government intervention and to combine efficiency with fairness. The GreenInnovation incentive system also needs the participation and support of the public. China’s development of GreenInnovation should look not only to international experience, but should also consider its own economic and social development and not simply apply those theories mechanically.
Presently, China is enteringa new period of Green Innovation. It is a necessity to discover a pathway for Green Innovation that goes in line with China’s national conditions and continuous toward perfection, as this is necessary foreconomic development. Fruits of advanced civilizations in the world should also be borrowed, from rural areas to cities, from coasts to inland, and from domestic markets to overseas markets. At present, “One Belt One Road” strategy has helped China to vigorously explore emerging markets, to increase efficient capacity, to optimize merchandise systems and to innovative management skills. It is expected to further enhance China’s international competitive strength and to attract more international cooperators. As it goes in the global strategy innovation specialist, Anil K. Gupta’s article Looking into 2020: China’s Innovation Road, “The special opportunities and challenges faced by China give China the potential to be the ruler of global innovation. Under the integrated global economy condition, many innovations are born in China. The important opportunities as well as challenges China faces in various fields mainly include: energy source, environment, infrastructure, population density, population aging, biological technology, mobile device, etc. China should focus on them to carry out innovation activities.”
The futurist Alvin Toffler who predicted decades ago that society would go into The Third Wave, that is the Information Age, after the Agricultural and Industrial Ages. The Green Innovation of society in the 21st century will absorb effective resources of the society, in the aspects of ecological development, low-carbon development and recycling development, to raise “The Fourth Wave” of sustainable development of the economy society.
To sum up, Green Innovation is the strategic choice of China’s sustainable development and is not simply a Chinese development need, but a society practice of global sustainable development. Green Innovation will bring three special features to China’s society, economy and politics: (i) The transition of politics from exclusive to tolerant; (ii) The transition of society from profit-driven to harmonious; (iii) The transition of the economy from brown to green.
Admittedly, China’s economy is still in transition, and it needs a long period of time for Green Innovation. At present, China has yet to shape a systematic Green Innovation framework. However, its Green Innovation policy has begun to exert a positive effect on the environmental problems which emerged during the process of economic growth. Through building a green economy, it is possible to achieve better economic and social development with reduced resource consumption and emissions. Thus, by improving the Chinese ecological environment, a great contribution may be made to the sustainable development and better quality of life for mankind. In conclusion, China can provide an example for other developing countries as a valuable reference for achieving increased standards of living and national economic growth, while simultaneously reducing negative environmental impacts. In this sense, China’s devotion to sustainability and its Green Innovation task force shall mark its important place in history.