China's environmental crisis, resulting from decades of rapid industrialization, poses a significant threat to the well-being of its 1.4 billion people and has global implications for the fight against climate change. As the world's largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in recent years, China has struggled with severe air pollution and other environmental challenges such as water scarcity and soil contamination. Furthermore, like many countries, China anticipates increasingly severe consequences of climate change, including flooding and droughts, in the coming decades.

Recognizing the urgent need to combat climate change, China has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country is actively investing in renewable energy infrastructure, including wind and solar farms, to shift towards cleaner energy sources. Furthermore, China is exploring emerging technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS), electric vehicles (EVs) and smart grid systems to enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

China's carbon-intensive industries not only contribute to greenhouse gas emissions but also harm the environment in other ways. Air pollution has garnered significant public attention, especially after the severe smog episode in Beijing in 2013, referred to as the "airpocalypse." To combat air pollution, China has been actively investing in clean energy technologies such as wind power, solar energy and nuclear energy. The government's efforts have led to a significant increase in renewable energy capacity and a gradual shift away from coal, resulting in improved air quality in many regions.

Water scarcity is another critical issue in China, with the country being home to 20 percent of the world's population but only 7 percent of its freshwater resources. Overuse and pollution have led to severe shortages, particularly along major water sources. To address this, China is implementing various initiatives, including water conservation projects, wastewater treatment plants and strict water pollution regulations. Additionally, the country is investing in innovative technologies such as desalination, water recycling and smart irrigation systems to enhance water efficiency and mitigate water-related challenges.

The rapid growth of China's consumer culture has resulted in increased waste generation and challenges in waste management. The country is tackling this issue through the promotion of recycling and waste reduction measures. China has implemented stringent waste management policies, including waste sorting programs and the establishment of waste-to-energy facilities. Moreover, the adoption of advanced technologies such as waste-to-fuel conversion, anaerobic digestion and composting is helping transform waste into valuable resources while minimizing environmental impacts. 

In 2022, Swiss exports to China reached a noteworthy amount of CHF 15.9 billion (excluding precious metals, gems and antiques), solidifying China as Switzerland's fifth-largest trading partner. This collaboration between the two countries not only strengthens economic ties but also promotes the exchange of knowledge and expertise in environmental technologies, facilitating the development of sustainable solutions for China's market.

China's commitment to addressing environmental challenges through innovative technologies presents significant opportunities for SWISS businesses. The country's emphasis on clean energy, water management, waste reduction, climate change mitigation and sustainable urban development is driving the growth of various sectors, including renewable energy, water treatment, waste management and green construction. As China continues to prioritize sustainability, both domestic and international companies can contribute to and benefit from the country's evolving market landscape focused on environmental solutions.



China’s Fight Against Climate Change and Environmental Degradation

Federal Office for Customs and Border Security FOCS - Trading partners 2022