My second stop in Zhejiang province was the capital, Hangzhou. As you can see from the video, Zhejiang is currently working with the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning (CAEP) to adapt the China EPI framework we helped them develop (see post here) for a municipal or city-level EPI that will include 11 municipalities. The rankings also include various levels of government administration, as well as individual departments.

Zhejiang has had prior experience in assessing its cities environmental performance via indicators and ranks. In 2003, they initiated a project called ‘Building an Ecological Province’ (浙江生态省建设, zhejiang shengtaisheng jianshe). The indicators used to determine an ‘Ecological Province’ can be found here (in Chinese, but you can find a rough Google translate here). In short, the ‘ecological civilization comprehensive evaluation system’ (生态文明综合评价指标体系,shengtai zhonghe pingjia zhibiao tixi) includes four groups of indicators that form individual sub-indices:

1. Ecological Efficiency Index (生态效率指数). 1) per capita GDP; 2) tertiary industry (such as the service sector) as a proportion of overall GDP; 3) comprehensive energy consumption per unit GDP; 4) water consumption per unit GDP.

2. Ecological Behavior Index (生态行动指数): 1) natural population growth rate; 2) level of urbanization; 3) per capita energy consumption; 4) quality of urban air pollution index; 5) sulfur dioxide emissions; 6) chemical oxygen demand (COD) emissions.

3. Ecological Coordination Index (生态协调只是): 1) per capita life expectancy; 2) security satisfaction rate; 3) total water resources per capita; 4) arable land per capita; 5) the level of intensive land use; 6) green area per capita.

4. Ecological Protection Index (生态保护指数): 1) investment in environmental pollution control as a proportion of GDP; 2) comprehensive utilization of industrial solid waste; 3) municipal garbage treatment rate; 4) urban sewage treatment rate.

We weren’t able to determine how these four separate indices factor into an overall comprehensive assessment for each city, county, prefecture, village, or individual department in Zhejiang, meaning that we couldn’t find any methodological information on statistical weighting or aggregation. I’m not even sure if the individual indices are actually calculated as separate indices, or if there are merely groupings of indicators. We also have not been able to locate the final rankings for each of the 11 major cities in Zhejiang, although this news piece boasts that Ningbo was the No. 2 most ecological city in Zhejiang province in 2011. I’ve followed up with Ms. Yu Jie, in the above video, to see if we can’t get more information about these efforts in Zhejiang. At very least, we hope that their use of the EPI will be done with more transparency.