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The Effectiveness of Extended Producer Responsibility in Motivating Eco-Design Changes

Perspectives from China's Electrical and Electronics Industry



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The Effectiveness of Extended Producer Responsibility in Motivating Eco-Design Changes by Jieqiong Yu
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This dissertation, "The Effectiveness of Extended Producer Responsibility in Motivating Eco-design Changes: Perspectives From China's Electrical and Electronics Industry" by Jieqiong, Yu, 余洁琼, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Extended producer responsibility (EPR) as a holistic approach to product stewardship has been increasingly incorporated into environmental policy agenda in the last two decades. One major expectation of EPR is to prevent environmental problems at source by providing appropriate incentives for product eco-design changes. However, available studies empirically examining the actual influence of EPR on eco-design are limited. This research therefore aims to fill the research gap by evaluating the effectiveness of existing EPR programmes in driving eco-design changes from the perspective of China's electrical and electronic (EE) industry, and shed some light on the prospects of EPR development in China. Based on the analytical framework developed from reconstructed intervention theory, three intensive empirical studies have been carried out. The first study examines the perception and responses of 50 China's EE manufacturers regarding the EU EPR programmes (i.e. the WEEE and RoHS Directives). The second study investigates the responses of 36 China's EE manufacturers to the Chinese EPR programmes (i.e. China WEEE and China RoHS legislation) and identifies possible factors that exert causal impact on the occurrence of eco-design. In order to gain a deeper insight into the practical manifestations of effective EPR implementation in the private sector, three company case studies have been conducted in the third stage of the research, serving as an important supplement to the first two studies. The three studies show that EPR programmes in a stringent regulatory approach focusing on products' environmental properties such as substance bans can exert strong influence on design changes. However, mandated recycling legislation seems to have little driving effect for companies to change product design. The research points to the weakness of collective producer responsibility that is currently adopted in many EU Member States for WEEE implementation in achieving continuous eco-design improvements. It highlights the significance of realising the principle of individual producer responsibility in EPR programmes for achieving this goal. Based on an attributability assessment, the research further shows that there are a number of factors that influence the adoption of eco-design in China, and the link between legislative EPR programmes and eco-design is complex and evolving. Not only may the EPR programmes have different existing, anticipating and potential effect on the incorporation of eco-design, but they may have very different driving influence on environmental laggards and leaders. In this regard, this research suggests that there is no one-stop solution for EPR in China. A mixed mechanism that integrates various policy instruments such as administrative, economic and informative instruments, in conjunction with cooperation and infrastructure facilities, would be the most effective means to implement EPR in the context of China, thereby achieving the goal of sustainable production and consumption. DOI: 10.5353/th_b4718593 Subjects: Electronic industries - Environmental aspects - ChinaElectronic apparatus and appliances - Environmental aspects - ChinaSocial responsibility of business - China
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
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Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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