Green consumption comes into fashion in China

By Qi Zhiming (People’s Daily) 15:10, March 25, 2021
A villager picks and boxes up bell peppers at an organic vegetable base in Zhongluotan town, Baiyun district, Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong province, Jan. 27, 2021. (People’s Daily Online/Qiu Xinsheng)

Green consumption is becoming a new trend in China as more and more Chinese people advocate the new consumption philosophy featuring environmental-friendly, low-carbon, healthy and safe consumption.

New energy vehicles, and household supplies, such as energy-efficient light bulbs and water conserving toilets, are increasingly popular among Chinese consumers. Meanwhile, the Chinese people tend to order smaller-portion dishes in restaurants and try not to use disposable tableware.

Pei Jing, a white-collar worker at an Internet company in Beijing, is an upholder of green lifestyle. While shopping at the Wanhui shopping mall in Chaoyang district of Beijing lately, Pei noticed that many customers carried biodegradable shopping bags. She then decided to buy and use such shopping bags herself.

According to Pei, the sales of some degradable shopping bags on certain e-commerce platforms have exceeded 100,000 items.

Green consumption refers to a way of consumption that caters for ecological conservation and protection, benefits people’s health while being conducive to ecological environment protection, and conforms to standards of people’s health and environmental protection, according to Chen Kai, a professor with the School of Economics and Management under the Beijing Forestry University.

The professor added that green consumption usually involves the purchase, use and disposal of products.

The State Council of China has recently issued a guideline, proposing that a green and low-carbon circular economic development system concerning production, circulation and consumption should be basically formed by 2025.

Green consumption became a new trend and highlight of China’s consumer market in 2020, said Zhu Xiaoliang, an official with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) of China.

Before this year’s Spring Festival, which fell on Feb. 12, Fang Wen, a citizen in Guixi, east China’s Jiangxi province, purchased five bags of rice labeled “organic” while making holiday purchases at a supermarket.

According to Fang, she always checks the date of manufacture when buying food and prefers pollution-free agricultural products, green food, organic agricultural products, and agricultural products with geographical indications (GI). “I have a baby, so I care about the quality of food very much,” she said.

In January, the MOC released a circular on promoting the green development of e-commerce companies.

Various regions in China need to actively explore local green and high-quality agricultural products, and join hands with e-commerce platforms to boost the online sales of green agricultural products, especially certified pollution-free agricultural products, green food, organic food and agricultural products, as well as farm produce with GI, said the document.

In 2020, China’s sales of new energy vehicles grew by 10.9 percent over the previous year, thanks to the country’s policy on extending subsidies for electric vehicles and its campaign to promote the use of green cars in the countryside.

Meanwhile, washing machines, refrigerators, water heaters, and other household appliances with energy efficiency labels are also popular among consumers.

Data from Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo suggest that the number of consumers and their expenditure on major energy-saving domestic appliances on the platform increased by 35 percent and 41 percent year on year in 2020, respectively.

Besides, the number of purchasers of and the amount of money spent on major water-saving home appliances via Pinduoduo saw year-on-year growth of 115 percent and 89 percent respectively, according to the platform.

Green consumption has become a booming trend, stressed Fu Yifu, a senior researcher at the Suning Institute of Finance, who pointed out that it not only covers categories like household appliances, food, clothes, personal care and beauty products and other daily necessities, but is increasingly integrated into service industries such as travel, catering, logistics, and packaging.

Fu believes that green consumption has accelerated the renewal or replacement of related products and services, and driven consumption upgrading.

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