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Open Access Euro-China Green Economy theme: SINCERE (Sino-European Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency) - ESRC

The SINCERE project (SINo-european Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency) is addressing the following priority themes under the Green Economy area:

- The greenness and dynamics of economies; - Metrics and indicators for a green economy;

- Policies planning, and institutions (including business) for a green economy

- Green economy in cities and metropolitan areas.

A focus on resources, sustainable consumption and production is at the heart of the principles of the Green Economy, according to the UN. China and Europe have highlighted the importance of resource-efficiency and moving towards a 'circular economy'. Europe has adopted Resource Efficiency as a flagship initiative, and China passed a Circular Economy Law in 2009. In light of these policy developments, there is a need to better understand the importance of resource efficiency on economic performance, the metrics and indicators through which action can be motivated and monitored, the underlying drivers of change and prospects for the future, as well as the role of institutions and policies. SINCERE has been developed to address these issues by bringing together leading researchers from five countries: UCL ISR in the UK, the Institute for Applied Ecology in China, Wuppertal University and FHI-ISI in Germany, ParisMinesTech in France and UM-MERIT in the Netherlands.

A number of sometimes conflicting concepts can be found in debate describing desirable futures, e.g. the Green Economy, Sustainable Growth, etc. As the difference and the overlap across them is not always clear it is important to implement theoretical comparisons of these concepts and case studies exploring how they have been applied in Europe and China. Particular importance will be given to the Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (CE/RE) and how they relate to the Green Economy. In addition to help deliver clarity in the theoretical debate, SINCERE will deliver new indicators for measuring CE/RE. As Indicators are critical for achieving policy goals, we will tackle them from three different angles through Emergy, innovation and SGAP-based indicators.

Policy and Institutional settings are clearly very influential on how our society moves towards a Green Economy. The journey of innovations from laboratories to the marketplace is very influenced by policies and institutions supposed to tackle the obstacles normally faced by new technologies. SINCERE will examine the importance of innovation in enabling resource efficiency, both in China and Europe, and will study what enables and prevents the development of new, resource-efficient technologies. In the last part of the project SINCERE will examine historical patterns between CE/RE and macro-economic performance with particular focus on the relationship between CE/RE, economic competiveness, trade, and industrial structure. After having assessed past trends SINCERE will model how the future might look like by producing scenarios to analyse the implications of CE/RE on the economy, and the impact of policies. This will include multi-scale modelling, from the urban to the global scale. Models play a key role in economic and environmental policy, but often the issue of resources has been sidelined in economic modelling, leaving policymakers without clear guidance on the importance of the issues. Our modelling work will advance the state-of-the-art for analysis of the macro-economics of resources.

SINCERE is a collaborative project building on the comparative advantage of the partners and their knowledge of the national context to develop a truly multi-disciplinary project where disciplines such as neoclassical economic, system dynamics, econometrics, ecology and innovation studies find a space to make an overall compelling picture. Our workplan is integrated to ensure that this project has a legacy so that the ties developed between European and Chinese partners are here to stay and produce future projects.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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