Governance of the circular economy: a comparative examination of the use of standards by China and the United Kingdom

Andrew Flynn, Nick Hacking, Linjun Xie

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wastes, like other materials, have become increasingly global in their flows. The circular economy (CE) is a multi-level sustainability transition linked to the global trade in waste. China has long been a key trading partner for the West’s waste materials. However, its rethinking of the quality of traded recyclable materials has triggered a crisis in the global governance of waste flows. We utilise a Sociology of Knowledge approach to undertake comparative work to better understand how different governance arrangements may facilitate or constrain the unfolding of a CE transition. The UK and China were selected as models of liberal and authoritarian environmental governance respectively. A mixed-method approach was pursued using qualitative interviews with key stakeholders and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from secondary sources. Thematic analysis is organised around: perceptions of the circular economy, meanings of standards, and perspectives on trade and materials.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Early online date30 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished Online - 30 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • China
  • Circular economy
  • Governance
  • Standards
  • Sustainability transition
  • UK

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