China has gained experience with voluntary agreements. In this paper the experiences in China will be analysed and compared to the factors contributing to the success of this model in the Netherlands. Are voluntary agreements an alternative for the Chinese command and control system? We distinguish different types of voluntary agreements and compare those in China and the Netherlands on a number of dimensions. The hypothesis is tested that voluntary agreements are more effective in achieving pollution control than the traditional command and control approach. It is found that indeed most voluntary agreements score good in China as well as in the Netherlands on a number of chosen indicators. Voluntary agreements are effective in achieving ambitious energy saving targets in a flexible and cost-effective way. Voluntary agreements have the function to mobilise support for energy saving, which is not easily mobilised through the traditional command-and-control approaches. There are however some important differences between the functioning of the system in China and in the Netherlands, where a more bottom-up approach is common. The Netherlands has a tradition of stakeholders' involvement and experience over a longer time of monitoring the effectiveness of the project and adjusting them if necessary.

, , , ,,
Energy and Environment
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Zhang, M. (Mingshun), Li, H. (Huanhuan), Jin, W. (Wei), ter Avest, E. (Erik), & van Dijk, M.P. (2018). Voluntary agreements to achieve energy efficiency, a comparison between China and The Netherlands. Energy and Environment. doi:10.1177/0958305X18765265