Unofficial translation: Notice by the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Issuing the “Green Development Guidelines for Overseas Investment and Cooperation”

Commercial and environmental departments of all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, and municipalities separately listed on the State plan and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and central state-owned companies (SOEs),

To fully implement the 19th CPC National Congress and the spirit of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Plenary Sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, accelerating the green development of foreign investment cooperation, establishing and improving a green and low-carbon circular economy development system, leading the international cooperation and competition, and fostering a new development paradigm, the “Green Development Guidelines of Overseas Investment and Cooperation” is developed and now issued to you to take concrete actions.

Green Development Guidelines of Foreign Investment and Cooperation 

The Guidelines has been issued in order to implement the Central Committee of CPC and the State Council’s decision, accelerate green development of foreign investment cooperation and foster a new development paradigm.

I. Significance

Green development is a necessary condition for sustainable development. At present, many countries in the world take “green” as an essential direction of the technological revolution and industrial transformation. Carbon neutrality has become a global priority, with green rules and standards in international trade and investment evolving rapidly. China is accelerating the establishment and improvement of a green and low-carbon circular development economic system and actively participating in global environmental governance and fulfilling international responsibilities. Entering a new era of development, only by practicing the concept of green development in foreign investment cooperation can China improve the domestic and international circulations, pursue open development, and take the lead in international cooperation and competition. 

II. General Requirement

The greening of outbound investment and cooperation must be guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. In the process, we must implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Plenary Sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization and the decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. We should focus on raising awareness of green development, efficient use of resources, strict protection of the environment, effective control of carbon emissions. We should work to demonstrate our green leadership, build a clean and beautiful world, and serve to build a new development paradigm.

III. Highlights

(i) Adhere to the concept of green development. Encourage enterprises to carry out overseas green investment, green construction, green production, green operations, green innovation, keep the green concept in mind throughout foreign investment and cooperation. Support foreign investment in solar energy, wind energy, nuclear energy, biomass and other clean energy, participate in the global energy production and consumption revolution and build a clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient energy system. Promote enterprises to strengthen green development cooperation with enterprises and institutions in various countries and accelerate their integration with the global green industry chain.

(ii) Promote green production and operation. Promote enterprises to actively fulfill their environmental responsibilities, strictly comply with the laws and regulations of the host country, and promote the coordinated development of the local economy, society and ecological environment. Encourage enterprises to carry out environmental assessments and due diligence of foreign investment projects following internationally accepted practices to identify potential environmental risks. Actively build green supply chains, implement green procurement, and prioritize environmentally friendly products and services. Promote green design, adopt green manufacturing processes, improve raw materials and resource recycling efficiency, reduce pollutant emissions, effectively recycle waste products and materials, and ensure a green and sustainable product cycle.

(iii) Construct green infrastructure. Encourage companies to carry out high-standard planning and design of overseas infrastructure projects, properly deal with the relationship between the project and local residents, environment, ecology, etc., and develop practical environmental protection measures. Promote green construction, focus on using environmentally friendly new technologies, new equipment, new materials, and new processes, effectively control gas emission, sewage, noise and solid waste pollution, increase the comprehensive use of waste resources, and minimize the negative impact of construction on the environment. We will fully explore the opportunities of the green infrastructure market, actively participate in the construction of high-standard green projects, and build the green brand of “China Construction.”

(iv) Establish green overseas economic and trade cooperation zones. Encourage zone-constructing enterprises to scientifically formulate green development plans for overseas economic and trade cooperation zones, improve the environmental access standards for enterprises and projects entering the zone, promote the greening of industries in the zone, and build green and low-carbon industrial parks. Promote the co-construction and sharing of public infrastructure, intensive recycling of resources and energy, centralized and safe disposal of pollutants, and strive to reduce carbon emissions. Encourage the zone-constructing enterprises to provide more professional and targeted quality services to the enterprises in the zone, expand the sharing of services, enhance the efficiency of scale, reduce the operating costs and energy consumption of enterprises, and enhance the green development level of the zone.

(v) Foster green technology innovation. Encourage enterprises to accelerate green technology innovation by establishing overseas R & D centers, innovation centers, laboratories, incubators and other science and technology innovation platforms; to carry out high-level joint research; introduce international talent resources. Flexibly apply various investment methods, carry out third-party cooperation with advanced multinational enterprises, and actively participate in the global green technology alliance and development system. Promote the integration of global advanced green technologies and critical links with domestic industrialization advantages and enhance the new momentum of a green economy.

(vi) Promote enterprises’ green transformation. Encourage enterprises to develop green development strategies, strengthen green management and assessment studies, increase green investment in capital, technology, and human resources, and practice green business concepts. Establish and improve the green compliance system, regulate overseas business operations, and makeup shortcomings to achieve green and sustainable development. Accelerate the construction of world-class multinational companies in the green economy, and improve global resource integration capabilities, overall position and industry leadership.

(vii) Prevent ecological and environmental risks. Promote enterprises to carry out ecological and environmental risk prevention following the requirements of overseas projects on ecological and environmental protection and improve the ecological and environmental management of overseas enterprises. Promote enterprises to take reasonable and necessary measures to reduce or mitigate the potential negative ecological and environmental impacts of investment and cooperation  following the laws and regulations of the host country. Conduct ecological and environmental protection and restoration in accordance with the host country law or international common practices to prevent adverse impacts on biodiversity. Adopt the overseas enterprises and foreign investment liaison service platform to strengthen environmental risks early-warning mechanisms, and develop contingency plans for environmental accidents and emergencies. If the host country does not have relevant laws and regulations, or if the environmental protection standards are too low, encourage enterprises to adopt the standards prevailing in international organizations or multilateral institutions, or Chinese standards for investment and cooperation activities.

(vii) Follow international green rules and standards. Promote enterprises to comply with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Belt and Road Green Investment Principles, and other requirements in their process of foreign investment cooperation. Support enterprises to actively participate in relevant international organizations’ activities and promote more impactful, practical, and effective green investment rules and standards.

(viii) Optimize green regulatory services. Strengthen the integration and communications of green development strategies and policies with relevant nations, and create an excellent external development environment for enterprises. Improve the filing and reporting system for foreign investment cooperation, consolidate the monitoring and analysis of the green development of enterprises, and strengthen information-based supervision. Encourage industry organizations to improve the level of green development of enterprises’ outbound investment cooperation by formulating norms, consulting services, and industry self-regulation. Encourage overseas Chinese enterprises’ chambers of commerce (associations) to research and develop green guidelines for investment and cooperation in host countries.

(ix) Enhance the reputation of green development. Encourage enterprises to strengthen communication with host governments, media, people and environmental organizations, fulfill green and social responsibility, expand positive publicity,  promptly alleviate the negative impact of reports and news to help build a green image for enterprises. Utilize multi/bilateral international cooperation platforms to uphold the concept of the community of shared future for humankind and put forward China’s green development philosophy and positions. Build a case study base of Chinese enterprises’ green investment and green infrastructure, compile green development index of Chinese enterprises’ outbound investment, and publish green development report of Chinese enterprises’ outbound investment.

IV. Scope of application

These guidelines apply to Chinese enterprises in outbound investment and cooperation to promote green development-related activities, and is to be observed voluntarily. The guidelines also apply to local commercial authorities and ecological and environmental departments to provide relevant guidance and services to enterprises for their outbound investment and cooperation. Relevant organizations can refer to it in their work.

V. Organization and implementation

Relevant state-owned enterprises, local business authorities and ecological environment departments should be fully aware of the importance of green development of foreign investment cooperation, strengthen system construction tailored to reality, consolidate work responsibilities and seek practical results. Any critical situations and issues should be timely reported to the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Cc: China Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of China, China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation. 

General Office of the Ministry of Commerce

Issued on July 15, 2021

Read the official guidelines (Chinese).