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MEE & MOFCOM: New Environmental Guidelines Released

2022-01-29Source:MEE
Guidelines for Ecological and Environmental Protection in Overseas Investment and Cooperation Construction Projects
Article 1 These Guidelines are hereby formulated in order to direct enterprises to implement the philosophy of ecological civilization, further regularize their environmental protection behaviors in overseas investment and cooperation construction projects, and promote green and high-quality development of these projects.
Article 2 Enterprises shall perform their responsibilities of environmental protection with a sense of ownership and coordinate economic, social and environmental benefits to facilitate harmonious development in respective areas and promote mutually beneficial cooperation. 
Article 3 For implementing overseas investment and cooperation construction projects, enterprises shall comply with the laws, regulations, policies, and standards of the host countries (regions) on environmental protection and file application for required permits with respect to ecological and environmental protection. Based on the awarded ecological and environmental protection permits, enterprises are encouraged to follow generally accepted international rules and standards or higher Chinese standards where local laws and regulations are non-existent or insufficient. 
Article 4 Enterprises shall include ecological and environmental protection into their own development strategies, establish corresponding rules and regulations for ecological and environmental protection in accordance with international practices, and improve enterprise’s environmental management system. In addition, enterprises are advocated to enhance training, study and capacity-building for ecological and environmental protection, and designate specialized personnel for ecological and environmental protection, so as to constantly improve their environmental management capacity.
Article 5 Before any overseas merger and acquisition activities, enterprises are advocated to take approaches such as environmental due diligence on the target company to assess the ecological damages, environmental pollution, environmental penalties, environmental lawsuits, the operation of environmental protection facilities, and other related ecological and environmental risks in the target company’s historical operations and activities, with special focus on the disposal of hazardous wastes, and the impacts on land and soil, underground water, greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric environment, and so on.
Based on their business needs, enterprises are encouraged to choose eco-environmental consulting institutions with strong capabilities, credibility, and familiarity with domestic and foreign environmental laws, regulations and policies, which can provide market-oriented and international eco-environment consulting services for enterprises’ overseas investment and cooperation.
Article 6 Enterprises are encouraged to, prior to construction of the project, collect relevant information, conduct biodiversity investigation, environmental monitoring and evaluation for the proposed construction area to obtain understanding of the environmental background of the place where the project is located and its surrounding areas, and put the results of environmental investigation, monitoring and evaluation on record.
When the background value exceeds local standards, international norms or China’s domestic quality standards, enterprises are suggested fully examining the environmental soundness of the selected site(s) and considering re-location if necessary.
Article 7 Enterprises shall, in accordance with requirements of laws and regulations of the host countries (regions), conduct environmental impact assessment (EIA), and take reasonable measures to reduce and eliminate possible adverse impacts. In the absence of EIA requirements in the host countries (regions), assessment can be conducted according to the generally accepted international rules and standards or Chinese standards.
Article 8 Enterprises shall strengthen ecological and environmental protection throughout the construction period of the project. Adhering to the principle of “putting ecology first and guaranteeing green construction”, enterprises will improve ecological protection and pollution control of air, water, noise, vibration, radiation and solid waste, to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent and reduce the adverse impact of construction on the environment through standardized management.
Enterprises will take effective ecological restoration measures and set up suitable and specific restoration plans based on the surrounding resource endowment and natural ecological conditions.
Article 9 Enterprises shall, in accordance with the construction project’s industrial status, scale, technique, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, ecological impact and surrounding ecological and environmental condition, construct and operate pollution prevention installations, and ensure that the emission of exhaust gas, waste water, or other pollutants and the disposal of solid wastes meet the corresponding standards. Effective measures are expected for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental monitoring and management will be carried out during the construction.
Article 10 In the implementation of energy projects, enterprises need to give priority to clean and green renewable energy projects. When carrying out water conservancy and hydropower projects, enterprises will endeavor to avoid nature reserves and important habitats, and make reasonable layout within watershed. The project design and engineering arrangement need to be optimized and reasonable measures to be taken, including protecting aquatic habitats, developing corridors for aquatic organisms, and stock enhancement and releasing. For projects affecting wildlife and their habitats, measures will be taken actively, including engineering protection, transplanting, environmental assistance and habitat restoration. In addition, measures such as release of ecological flow are expected, so as to meet the water needs of people in the lower reach for domestic, ecological, and production purposes. Ecological and environmental management need to be done well concerning wind power, photovoltaic power and other renewable energy projects.
Article 11 In the implementation of petrochemical projects, enterprises need to strengthen the construction, operation, and maintenance of pollution treatment facilities to reduce the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases. The prevention and control of environmental risks will be enhanced by improving related measures.
Article 12 In the implementation of mining projects, enterprises need to take effective pollution treatment measures to control the discharge of pollutants, especially heavy metals pollutants. The comprehensive recycling of solid waste is expected to reduce the amount of waste generation and storage. The solid waste storage sites such as tailings pond and gangue yard will be reinforced and leak-proof to prevent the pollution of underground water. Enhanced environmental protection practices are recommended in the project design to reduce ecological damage and land occupation, and to step up ecological restoration and biodiversity conservation.
Article 13 In the implementation of transportation infrastructure projects, enterprises shall follow the principle of green, low-carbon and sustainable development to select reasonable routes and sites, and endeavor to avoid occupying or crossing nature reserves and important wildlife habitats. If unavoidable, mitigation or compensation measures such as harmless crossing of transportation infrastructure and constructing of wildlife passageways shall be taken. Enterprises shall strengthen environmental management during the construction period by arranging construction work reasonably. The excavation of soil and rock and the temporary occupation of sites will be reduced to mitigate the impacts such as noise and dust on wildlife and neighboring residents. Ecological and environmental restoration shall be carried out in time after construction.
Article 14 Enterprises need to carry out pollutant emission monitoring based on the featured environmental impacts of the project, keep tracking the emission status, and put the monitoring results on records. For those with ecological and environmental impacts, related investigations will be well organized.
Article 15 Enterprises shall take measures to reduce the volume of project-generated solid wastes, improve the comprehensive utilization of solid wastes, abate the hazard brought by solid wastes, and strictly follow the requirements for storing, transporting, utilizing and disposing solid wastes including hazardous wastes.
Article 16 Enterprises shall formulate contingency plans for environmental emergencies based on the nature and features of environmental risks and possible environmental hazards by the project. In the event of such emergencies, enterprises will follow relevant rules to report to their domestic investors, Chinese embassies and consulates and local administrative authorities in time, and the domestic investors shall timely report to the relevant administrative authorities.
Contingency plans normally include the organizational system for emergency management and the corresponding responsibilities, prevention and early warning mechanisms, handling procedures, emergency guarantees, and post-emergency recovery and reconstruction. Enterprises are encouraged to organize emergency drills and make timely adjustments to the plans.
Article 17 Enterprises shall pay attention to the international laws, regulations and policies and those of the host countries (regions) on addressing climate change and actively participate in low-carbon and carbon sink projects based on their own conditions, so as to support the green and low-carbon energy development of developing countries, and make positive contribution to the climate change response of these places.
Article 18 Enterprises shall follow the biodiversity conservation strategies and action plans of host countries (regions) and fully consider the ecological functions of the area where the project is located, to reduce adverse impacts on local biodiversity and promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. 
Article 19 Enterprises shall follow the principle of clean production, promote green design and recycling, reduce pollution from the source, improve the material and resource efficiency, and reduce generation and emission of pollutants in the course of production, service and product use.
Article 20 Enterprises need to roll out the innovation and practice of green value chain to build up green supply chain management system, implement green purchasing, promote green production, and give preference to the procurement of environmentally friendly products.
Article 21 Enterprises are encouraged to apply for relevant environment management system certification, energy management system certification, and such green certification as environmental labeling and certification of energy efficiency, water conservation, low carbon and environmentally-friendly features for relevant products.
Article 22 Enterprises shall report compliance information on ecological and environmental protection in light of relevant regulations.
Article 23 Enterprises need to strengthen their contacts and communications with local competent authorities for environmental management, exchange ecological and environmental protection information of the projects, and actively seek for their opinions and suggestions. Enterprises will take the initiative to strengthen their contacts and communications with potentially affected communities and relevant social groups, and listen to opinions and suggestions with respect to environmental impacts of the construction projects and operation activities through forums and hearings.
Article 24 Enterprises shall improve information disclosure and experience sharing, and regularly publish the results of implementing the host country’s (region’s) ecological and environmental laws and regulations, measures taken to protect the environment, and environmental performance achieved. They are encouraged to share ideas and best practices on eco-environmental protection of the projects.
Article 25 Enterprises shall, in accordance with laws or international practices, protect the environment during the decommissioning, demolishing and closing period of overseas investment and cooperation construction projects.

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