China China releases draft rules for corporate environmental information disclosure

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment on September 24 released two sets of draft rules — the Measures on the Management of Mandatory Corporate Environmental Information Disclosure and the Standards for the Format of Mandatory Corporate Environmental Information Disclosure — to implement the Mandatory Environmental Information Disclosure System Reform Plan, which was announced by the government in May. The ministry solicited public comments on the drafts until October 24. Here is an overview of the draft rules.

 

The Measures on the Management of Mandatory Corporate Environmental Information Disclosure

The draft measures are intended to address issues such as the inadequately defined format, procedure, submission period and required information of environmental information disclosure, decentralized disclosure channels and the lack of cooperation among government departments. The measures set out who should disclose what information by when and how the disclosure is managed and supervised.

Who should disclose
Key pollutant discharging entities; companies on the List for Mandatory Clean Production Audit; listed companies that were charged or received a serious administrative penalty for violating an ecological and environmental regulation in the previous year; and companies that issued financial products such as corporate bonds and non-financial corporate debt financing instruments in the previous year must disclose their environmental information.

Required information in the disclosure
There are two types of disclosure, namely, annual and special disclosure. In annual disclosure, key pollutant discharging entities must publish nine items of information, including on environmental management, generation and discharge of pollutants, pollution control measures and carbon emissions. In addition to these nine items, companies on the List for Mandatory Clean Production Audit must report on implementation, evaluation, receipt and inspection, etc. of clean production. On top of those, listed and bond issuing companies are required to make public the climate change measures as well as ecological and environmental impacts and protection in their investment projects. Companies violating ecological and environmental regulations must make a special disclosure to publish information on their penalties.

Disclosure period
Environmental information for the previous year must be disclosed by February 28 of each year. When a company violates an ecological and environmental regulation, it must submit a special disclosure report on its environmental information within five business days after receiving a notification of the violation.

Management of disclosure
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment will establish a national mandatory environmental information disclosure system where it discloses environmental information of companies.

Supervision
The draft measures clarify the responsibility of government departments for supervision, the role of the public concerning information disclosure by companies, and penalties for violations of the measures. It is also stipulated that environmental information disclosure status of companies are incorporated into the city-level corporate environmental protection credit management systems.

The Standards for the Format of Mandatory Corporate Environmental Information Disclosure

The draft standards are intended to organize corporate environmental information more meticulously and standardize the disclosure format in accordance with laws and regulations, including the Environmental Protection Law, the Clean Production Promotion Law and the latest draft measures. These standards specify required items, important points and the format of the annual and special disclosure reports.

 

The full text of the draft measures and standards (in simplified Chinese) is available at
https://www.mee.gov.cn/ywgz/zcghtjdd/sthjzc/202109/t20210924_953309.shtml