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Going Green: Environmental Compliance For Companies Operating in China

Although considered a latecomer to global environmental governance by many, China has been catching up by leaps and bounds, whose staunch commitment to the cause is in full evidence. In his video address to the UN General Assembly in 2021, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s determination in striving to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Two key documents were subsequently published as part of the “1+N” policy framework, giving concrete shape to the ambitious aims. The first, Working Guidance for Carbon Dioxide Peaking and Carbon Neutrality in Full and Faithful Implementation of the New Development Philosophy, serves as the blueprint; and the second is an Action Plan to flesh out the broader aims in obtainable and measurable terms.

According to the Working Guidance, China is to become a green, low-carbon, and circular economy, and the energy efficiency of key industries shall be significantly improved. In addition, the vast strides achieved in the all-encompassing green transformation will be reflected in the social and economic realms.

Does this simply mean that a spate of new regulations will be cascaded on to companies? While the shake-up of the regulatory landscape and the streamlining of policy implementation will undoubtedly present compliance challenges for companies, it should not be viewed as a one-sided tale. Business and environmental concerns are not mutually exclusive, the harmonization of which is increasingly viewed as a must in the wake of accelerating climate change.

What are the main areas of environmental compliance that a company operating in China should be aware of? In our new publication “Going Green: Environmental Compliance For Companies Operating in China”, we talk about: