中国的绿色创新发展与影响

时间:2015-10-22

黄海峰教授
北京大学汇丰商学院绿色经济研究中心
国际生态发展联盟执行理事长
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。
对于中国而言,1978年中国开始向国际社会开放其市场并推动市场改革。在过去的37年间,改革开放政策在维护社会稳定的同时取得了巨大的经济成就。然而,改革的成功一定程度上是以牺牲自然环境、资源短缺以及环境污染为代价的。中国政府也逐渐认识到这些改革“副产品”带来的严重影响。中国在坚持环境保护方面正在经历较为陡峭的学习曲线,随着国际化的转型,企业的社会责任感和公民的环保意识日趋成熟,研究机构、私营部门和民间社会都对改善生态环境发出呼吁,旨在减缓气候变化和工业化所带来的负面影响,中国已经制定了相关行动计划,以实现经济社会的可持续和谐发展。中国的绿色创新政策面临两个巨大挑战。第一,绿色创新需要建立绿色经济体系来支撑。第二,中央计划部门和地方政府在面对不同区域经济、环境目标和工作方法时,存在执行断层。
这样的断层亟待解决,当前利害攸关的问题是如何转变经济发展方式,切实改变“先污染、后治理”的急功近利发展观,推动制度、管理、技术和监管的创新,就成为当今中国“绿色创新”、迈向生态可持续发展的历史重任。基于不同地区的具体条件,建立符合当地区情特点的社会经济环境协调发展模式必不可少。中国绿色创新需要公众参与和政策透明,汇集社会各界参与到法律、制度和政策的制定。
1.研究绿色创新的国际背景
各国经济学家和社会学家针对“创新”各叙己见。无论是上个世纪力推的市场化和全球化,还是这个世纪初涌现的信息化和绿色化,均表现出人类社会在提升资源产出效率中的创新激情。
20世纪,东西方以GDP总量作为衡量标准的发展观导致了自然资源的过度开采,造成今天的洲际不公正和代际不公正的现象,当代人的健康生活和幸福指数也因为环境污染和气候变化受到严重威胁,盲目追求数量和产值的“高污染、高排放、高消耗”的发展观严重违背了整个人类的可持续发展。
2008年10月,联合国环境规划署提出了全球“绿色新政”的发展观,通过提升各国的绿色创新能力,力图在全球建设公正、包容、可持续的社会经济秩序,其中经济发展质量、注重环境保护与追求人与自然和谐的发展成为这一时代的最强音。
2.探讨中国经济的创新道路
国内外学术界在研究中国创新时,更多集中在技术层面。其实,长达一个世纪以来,中国始终在探索自我的创新道路,既有辛亥革命中的“洋为中用”创新探索,又有革命运动中的“意识形态”创新挣扎,再有文化运动的“砸烂孔家店”的创新破坏。中国创新思想如此丰富、复杂而独特,足以对研究中国学(China Studies)的国内外专家提出许多挑战性的问题。无论是“洋务运动”、“五四”运动、“文化大革命”运动,还是其它涉及政治、历史、经济和文化的运动,其创新思想对社会进步所带来的推动和破坏,都与历史和所处时代的背景息息相关。
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。
对于“政治创新”而言,中国作为世界上最大的发展中国家,选择了与大多数发展中国家不同的政治体制。以毛泽东主席为代表的中国共产党,目睹120年以来,农业文明的古老中华在新兴的工业文明帝国的挑战下不堪一击,华夏文明从此一蹶不振。于是,团结一批优秀的知识分子,寻找独立自强,逐渐摆脱美苏的影响和封锁,依靠“独立自主、自力更生”的方式,建立了初级的工业体系,探索出一条具有中国特色的政治创新道路。
对于“经济创新”而言,在长期“政治创新”的负面效应下,为了摆脱贫困,邓小平倡导“经济改革”,开启了在经济体制、经济结构和经济发展方式的“经济创新”,包括从高度集中的计划经济向充满活力的市场经济的转型,从贫困的农业性乡村社会向富足的工业性城镇社会的转型,从“封闭半封闭”社会向“开放”社会的转型。正是“经济创新”,充分调动了亿万民众的“致富”的积极性和创造性,中国农村贫困人口大量减少,不仅使许多边远乡村的农民也逐渐融入社会发展大家庭中,而且也使中国社会融入国际社会中,承担起全球的社会责任,所涉及到的制度、管理、政策和方法,“经济创新”模式而倍受世人关注;
对于“技术创新”而言,通过开拓新兴市场、淘汰落后产能、优化产品结构、创新管理技术和供应链,抢占产业制高点,大大提升了中国企业的核心竞争力,逐渐实现从“中国制造”向“中国创造”的转型,成为全球申请知识产权最多的国家之一。
最后对于“绿色创新”而言,中国原有的“高投入、高消耗、高排放”粗放型发展模式,不仅付出了生态环境退化的高昂代价,把污染留给自己,而且对中国经济的可持续发展构成了严重伤害。中国新一代领导人习近平主席多次强调“既要绿水青山,也要金山银山。宁要绿水青山,不要金山银山,而且绿水青山就是金山银山”。“两座山论”具体阐述了“生态文明”发展观,成为中国当今治国理政思想的重要组成部分。中国一改过去无节制开采资源、牺牲环境和廉价劳动力的发展观,开始走向从“以速度增长”转变为“以质量增长”的“新常态”经济,其倡导的“生态文明”的建设,乃是对农业文明、工业文明的继承与创新,符合人类文明发展的方向。
3.研究绿色创新的相关理论
根据熊彼特理论(熊彼特1883-1950),创新的概念涵盖范围极为广泛,包括但不限于系统,管理,技术和产品。制度创新可以分为政策和监管领域,管理创新在一定程度上涉及到文化因素。熊彼特定义管理的变化属于制度创新,而技术创新也包含产品开发(熊彼特1934)。在其他领域,学者对创新的定义包括引进新产品和生产方法,拓展市场,寻找新的原材料和半成品,并建立新的产业组织形式(Hhellström 2007)。在学术界,“绿色创新”作为学术概念至今没有严格的定义。凡是具备了创新的新颖性、价值性特征,且能实现资源节约和环境改善,即称之为“绿色创新”。创新大师熊彼特将“创新”归纳为产品创新、技术创新、市场创新、资源配置创新和组织创新,“绿色创新”更注重资源配置和组织创新。
显然,绿色创新的结果将是新的产品,新的生产方法和通过“服务化”的新服务系统。这种进步不仅来自企业的环境保护行为,而且来自法律、法规、政府政策和机构的文化背景。技术,组织行为和社会观的革新也有助于改善环境。从广义上说,创新在两方面对环境保护起着重要的作用。一是能够直接减轻环境负荷的直接产品和创新过程;另一种是通过环境友好型获取创新间接实现,如可行的可持续产品和服务体系。这两种方法,从整体看,都很好地服务于鼓励经济、社会和环境的和谐及可持续发展目的。有效的绿色创新在降低资源消耗、提高产业综合效率的同时保护环境方面遵循生态经济学原理。不同于利润导向的创新,环境创新包括绿色技术,环境管理创新,环境市场机制,环境法规,系统和框架,并最终文化社会价值实践。
总的来说,“绿色创新”更注重资源配置和组织创新。它作为资源由低产出向高产出的转移方式,在于建立资源集合器和财富放大器,提高现有资源的产出。“绿色创新”与“可持续创新”、“生态创新”或“环境创新”等概念有相似之处,其研究内涵分为三个阶段:
(1)技术和研究层面:以环保技术创新为核心;
(2)产业和管理层面:以产业可持续发展研究为核心,涉及到绿色经济、绿色技术、绿色GDP、绿色金融、绿色管理、等诸多领域。这阶段的“绿色创新”是一种广义的创新,超出了单纯的技术创新、工艺创新和产品创新,包括了组织创新、管理创新、制度创新等;
(3)政治和法律层面:以生态文明建设为背景的绿色创新研究为核心。2015年9月11日,中国通过了《生态文明体制改革总体方案》,将“绿色创新”扩展到政治法律层面。
4.论证绿色创新的中国特色
中国的绿色创新从认识到理论,解决问题到政策的规定,以及个人经验的延伸到最佳实践的各个阶段都取得了进展。融合了国际智慧,国内的见解和区域多样性,中国正在发展其环境政策,产业体系和政策框架中,经历了以下重要的发展过程。
中国在经历了三十多年持续高速增长之后,由于中国自然环境脆弱、经济增长方式粗放、环境监管滞后,资源环境瓶颈约束和经济增长的矛盾日益尖锐,环境质量改善速度和民众需求依然存在很大的差距,中国资源环境面临的压力可能比世界上任何国家都要大。改革的目标是推动创新,这是发展经济的必由之路,是保护资源,保护环境的唯一途径。
2009年中国环境与发展国际合作委员会年会批准设立了《中绿色经济发展机制与政策创新研究》项目,旨在为中国政府推动绿色经济发展提供战略性、前瞻性和可操作性的政策建议。中国在“十三五”时期,以“绿色创新”协调经济发展与环境质量的关系,通过改善环境质量的同时保持经济稳定增长。绿色创新前提在于转变经济发展方式,通过创新和管理形成绿色经济新的增长点。
什么是中国“绿色创新”的特色?“绿色创新”其实质就是要提高社会资源的效率,创造出适应社会调整、经济改革和生产力发展的力量,建立符合社会经济可持续发展的制度。面对中国工业化呈现出“高投入、高消耗、高污染、低产出、低质量、低效益”的问题,“绿色创新”将摒弃单纯依赖资源投入、出口需求、投资拉动的经济发展模式,杜绝盲目追求GDP、漠视环境成本、土地等自然资源利用效率的作法,由数量驱动型逐渐转变为质量驱动型,通过资源节约、治污减排,将环境友好型和资源节约型的“两型社会”建设变成全社会的自觉行动。树立绿色、低碳和循环发展的理念。
5.实施绿色创新的重要措施
中国环保部为了大力发展绿色经济,公布了四个新的具体目标,实现了绿色创新政策、市场机制和技术创新。首先,中国必须通过重点行业升级改造来提高其生态性能;其次,回收废品,尤其要强调回收电子废品;再次,要制定一个区域性的绿色经济政策;最后,从经济发展的良性发展中对关键的经济政策进行检讨。
目前,中国基本具备了“绿色创新”的政治环境和社会环境。中国共产党“十八大”提出大力发展生态文明建设,在全社会形成了“绿色创新”的驱动力,具体有:(1)推进了“绿色创新”政策的制定和实施;(2)建立了环境成本负担机制,使企业排放各类污染物承担的支出高于主动治理成本,引导企业主动治污减排;(3)促进了经济结构、生产方式、生活方式的绿色化。
由雾霾、不良食品所造成的公共健康危机,也使全社会意识到,“绿色创新”能够极大改善生存环境,获得新的产业增长点,推动传统产业优化升级,逐步降低能源消耗和污染排放。“绿色创新”具体体现在四个方面:
第一,理念创新。理念创新是实现“绿色创新”的前提。诺贝尔经济学奖得主詹姆斯·莫里斯认为绿色GDP概念很重要,他从环境影响的角度重新诠释了经济发展的价值。中国正是以一种全新的绿色发展观,制定了以促进节能减排、循环经济、环境保护为重点的绿色发展战略。
第二,科技创新。科技创新是粗放型发展方式转为集约型发展方式的重要保障。科技创新是指以保护环境、改善生态条件、促进可持续发展为主要内容的所有科技活动的总称,它包括产品研发、工艺设计、材料开发等,其显著特征是高效、节约、环保。
第三,市场创新。市场创新是实现绿色发展的重要动力。鼓励和推广低碳、循环的绿色生活方式及消费方式,提高全民生态意识和绿色消费观念,强化市场管理和监督,加强产品质量的检测和监督,健全绿色标准、绿色产品认证机制,开辟绿色产品的广阔市场。
第四,机制创新。制度经济学认为,制度结构和制度变迁对经济效率及经济发展具有重要的影响,高效、合理的制度安排有利于解决存在的诸多生态问题。制度创新作为绿色创新的根本保障,分为强制性和非强制性的制度安排。强制性制度安排是指采用法律、行政、经济等强制性手段来实现绿色创新;非强制性制度安排,主要是指通过对社会公众的环境知识、法律知识教育,培养社会公众的环境价值观,提高公众的环境保护意识。
“绿色创新”具体措施有:
首先,推动宏观决策的绿色机制创新。各级政府在制定经济、技术政策时,要听取专家意见,将环境保护成为决策的重要导向和约束;
其次,推动市场竞争的绿色政策创新。加强企业环境信用体系建设,构建“绿色金融”体系,制定《绿色信贷指引》政策;
再次,推动生产成本的绿色管理创新。其一,制定环境成本纳入绿色税费的政策。在开采环节,提高石油、煤炭资源税;在生产环节,对实施环保项目、环保专用设备、资源综合利用的企业给予税收优惠;制定“环境保护税法”,促进环境成本内部化,利用税收手段推进企业治污减排的内在动力;其二,制定环境成本纳入绿色价格的政策。对于水泥、电解铝等重点行业落后产能,专门实施惩罚性的加价政策。其三,制定环境成本纳入绿色贸易的政策。限制了“双高”产品的出口,减少国内生产的环境资源代价。
最后,引导生活方式的绿色创新。新《环保法》对公众的环保义务和权益做出了全面规定,要求公众增强环境保护意识,采取低碳节俭的生活方式,鼓励公众使用有利于环境保护的产品和再生产品,对生活废弃物进行分类放置等。
6.展望绿色创新的未来前景
中国尚处于工业化发展中期,一味追求经济增长的政策,使其生态环境付出了高昂的代价。随着日益加剧的生态保护与经济增长的矛盾,如何有效地实施“绿色创新”就成为当今生态文明的重要问题。众所周知,如果经济增长不能改善其国民的生活环境,即使实现了雄心勃勃的增长目标也将是徒有其表的胜利。中国绿色创新需要充分调动国家、企业和个人的积极性,才能有效整合市场机制和政府良治、经济效率与社会公平。诚然,绿色创新的激励制度还需公众的参与和支持,不仅要借鉴国际经验,而且要理性根据自身的经济社会发展阶段,不要简单地搬用西方的发展理论。
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”。
终上所述,“绿色创新”作为中国可持续发展的战略选择,不仅是中华民族发展的需要,也是全球可持续发展的社会实践。“绿色创新”将给中国的社会、经济和政治带来了三大特色:(1)从“排他”政治向“包容”政治的转型;(2)从“逐利”社会向“和谐”社会的转型;(3)从“棕色”经济向“绿色”经济的转型。不容置疑,中国经济社会仍处于一个转型阶段,其“绿色创新”也需要较长的过程。毫无疑问,今天中国的“绿色创新”,也为其他发展中国家走向现代化提供了范例,作为勃勃生机的绿色革命,将进一步丰富人类文明的多样性发展,其意义十分深远。

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.