Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 3, pp 587–603 | Cite as

The National Ecological Accounting and Auditing Scheme as an Instrument of Institutional Reform in China: A Discourse Analysis

  • Xiaorui WangEmail author
Original Paper


Having been recognised as a “resource-intensive” economy, the People’s Republic of China has been experiencing major implications in terms of ecological environment degradation, which continuously harms the health of the Chinese people and the productivity of China’s economy. Among the political efforts set forth by the Chinese central authorities, the claim of promoting a “National Ecological Accounting and Auditing Scheme” (NEAAS) has been drawing nationwide attention. Through a series of critical discourse analysis on relevant written texts produced by the central authorities, mainstream media and the Chinese academics, this paper sets out to analyse the historical evolution of the institutional context in relation to the establishment of such a scheme, and further, to decipher the ideological underpinnings that have shaped this context. The findings indicate that the signification of NEAAS goes far beyond the environment protection, in that, this scheme constitutes a fundamental institutional reform that the Communist Party of China seeks to conduct.


Ecological accounting and auditing Discourse Institutional reform People’s Republic of China 



China Knowledge Resource Infrastructure


Chinese Communist Party


Critical discourse analysis


Gross domestic product


Gross ecosystem product


Green GDP


Greenhouse gas


Ministry of Environmental Protection of the PRC


National Ecological Accounting and Auditing Scheme


People’s Republic of China


System for Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting


Sustainable development


System of National Accounts


United Nations


World Bank



The author is thankful to the anonymous reviewers of this paper, and to the support of the Chair of Business Ethics and Governance (Chaire Ethique et Gouvernement d'Entreprise, EGE, Fondation Paris-Dauphine).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DRM-MOSTUniversité Paris-DauphineParisFrance
  2. 2.MontélimarFrance

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