Eco Industrial Park in China

Eco Industrial Park in China, a model and experiences, from TEDA China to Le Havre.

EnvIM Project – 2014 2015

Eco Industrial Park in China : A genuine opportunity to better understand circular economy

Students learn about circular economy through lectures, private-sector experts speeches, case-studies, sites visits in China, and Rotterdam, through a project oragnized in China and France. With the participation of PS2ETsinghua University and INSA Lyon this project delivers a high level and operational education on circular economy, in order to train the experts to integrate it in their functions.

The EnvIM Project on circular economy and Eco Industrial Park is a genuine opportunity to better understand its objectives  and mechanisms, as the linear economy has reached its limits and cannot anymore constitute a sustainable model.

China experiences of Eco-Industrial Parks, a model for France?

1. Context

Created in 1984, Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) is one of the first 14 national economic development zones in China. Located in the Binhai district of Tianjin region, 130 km southeast of Beijing, 50km from the city center of Tianjin (fourth largest city in China after Shanghai, Beijing and Canton).

TEDA is a coastal area facing the Bohai Bay and connected with Tianjin Port. It occupies an approximate surface area of 98 km², including 46 km² of industrial zone. The employed population represents 484,000 people. This strategic area is divided into separate sections mixing industrial, residential, financial and commercial uses.

       Carte Chine             Carte Beijing

Initially a salt making industry cluster, the area started to foster new types of industries with the creation of TEDA. Since then, it went through several transformations in order to become the most efficient eco-industrial park (EIP) of China. The most remarkable steps are the beginning of the eco-transformation in 2000, the obtaining of the eco-label in 2005 and the launching of Tianjin eco-city project in 2007. The eco-city is currently under construction and is located within the boundaries of TEDA.

Key points

Since it was built on saline land, the only economic activity was salt making and the industrial output value was about 2 million Renminbi (RMB). TEDA has experienced a very rapid increase in its economy and has moved quickly to encourage local industrialization by attracting foreign investment. However, in the absence of a comprehensive sustainable development scheme, this increase has brought severe environmental issues, such as water resources depletion, air pollution and solid waste pollution.

Consequently, the excessive scarcity of both water and usable land has driven TEDA to conserve and make very efficient use of these critical natural resources since the early 1990s. Furthermore, Tianjin Region and therefore TEDA rely on external energy and resources. Considering the growing demand for resources from the rapid economic growth, it was indispensable to reduce and recycle energy, water and resources. This led to the spontaneous development of numerous industrial symbiosis (IS) activities involving energy, materials, and water.


TEDA Finance street

The transformation of TEDA into an eco-park started effectively in the year 2000, when TEDA started to prepare for the ISO14001 (International Organization for Standardization) certification (cf chapter 3, II/ A), under the pressure of the new national laws adopted by China. Obtaining this certification was crucial for the entire industrial estate because not only would it elevate the environmental management capacity to a whole new level, but also would enhance the investment climate and public image of TEDA and China internationally.

Thus, the variety of industries established in TEDA enabled the possibility of by-product exchanges and eased the challenges to connect different types of companies.

After years of efforts, TEDA was nominated as a National Pilot Industrial Area for Circular Economy in 2005 and it became one of the first three National Demonstration EIPs in 2008.

By the year 2013, more than 81 symbiotic exchanges were created and TEDA's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 250.227 billion RMB. Furthermore, TEDA has accumulatively approved 5282 companies from 88 foreigners’ countries and regions, including Hong-Kong, Macao and Taiwan; involving $US 91,661 billion of project investments. Following these results, TEDA has been ranked as the most attractive economic development zone for foreign investment by China’s Ministry of Commerce for 10 consecutive years from 1998 to 2007.

Finally, it is important to highlight that TEDA's Eco-transformation is a continuous process driven by both economic and environmental factors along with strong government involvement.


2. The EnvIM workshops

Workshop in Beijing - December 2014

This workshop “China experiences of Eco-Industrial Parks, a model for France?” was organized in the School of Environment in Tsinghua University . The particular interest was centered on one Chinese Eco-Industrial Park, Tianjin Economic-Industrial Development Area (TEDA), one of the well known EIP in China.

EnvIM 2015 in China

The EnvIM students 2014-2015

The afternoon was organised thanks to the precious help of Pr. TIAN Jinping (Professor at Tsinghua University and specialist on the subject of Industrial Ecology), Ms SONG Yujuan (director of TEDA Eco-Center), Pr. ZUO Jiane (vice dean of Tsinghua University School of Environment), Frédérique Vincent( head of ISIGE – MINES ParisTech) and Cathy Large (Responsible for the EnvIM program).

The workshop ended up as a real success, raising inspired exchanges between the guests and attendees on the subject. The students were greatly motivated by this opportunity to collect precious additional information and were invited by Ms Song and Pr Tian to visit the eco-center at TEDA in order to collect more information about the park genesis. The session eventually finished in an enthusiastic atmosphere, with the usual Chinese picture-taking of the whole attendance.

Debate in Le Havre Port-Center - April 2015

This workshop in China has been followed by a study in France and Rotterdam, in April a workshop and a debate has been organized about key factors of sucess of Eco Industrial Park, top down and bottom up models for implementing industrial symbiosis in Asia and Europe. Thanks to Le Grand Port Martime du Havre this event has been a real sucess for students, who invited the Industrial Zone stake holders and local organizations.