Standards developed by corporates, financial institutions, asset managers and energy producers intended to augment mandatory reporting requirements.
New ESG disclosure guidelines developed by a Beijing-based industry body for Chinese enterprises are due for implementation next month.
The State Council-backed body, known as CERDS (China Enterprise Reform and Development Society), has designed the guidelines based on Chinese laws and regulations, in collaboration with dozens of Chinese corporates.
The companies participating in the development of the guidelines are typically highly ranked in their sectors on managing ESG risks and which had already implemented the concept of sustainable development in their operations.
“The release of this group standard fills the gap in the field of corporate ESG disclosure standards in China,” said an official notice when the guidelines were released last month. “It will promote the accuracy and effectiveness of information disclosure by Chinese enterprises and help Chinese enterprises practice new development concepts and achieve high-quality development.”
The guidelines feature an indicator system for disclosure of “scientific and measurable” corporate information, comprising three first-level indicators (“E”, “S”, and “G”), ten second-level indicators, 35 third-level indicators, and 118 fourth-level indicators.
The guidelines also specify disclosure principles, indicators, requirements, applications, responsibilities, and supervision for businesses of different types, industries, and sizes.
“The standards can support Chinese enterprises in their ESG governance practices and disclosure, serving as a reference for self-evaluation and third-party evaluation,” said Ping An Insurance, one of the companies that helped to develop the guidelines.
In a statement, Ping An said the guidelines incorporate its patented CN-ESG evaluation system framework, which provides a standardised and scientific approach for corporate ESG information disclosure. The insurer has been producing annual sustainability reports for 14 years and was the first Chinese FI to issue a TCFD report and publish the carbon emissions of its overall assets.
Ping An said it also provided recommendations on the coverage of international standards, the setting of indicators with Chinese features, applicability to different industries, and the setting of scoring standards.
Other major corporates that were involved in the development of the guidelines included China Mobile, Ant Group, Dagong Credit Rating, China Post Life Insurance, along with asset managers and a number of energy and industrial companies.
The guidelines, published here (Chinese), take effect on 1 June 2022.
Chinese enterprises are asked to use the guidelines to disclose ESG information in accordance with the guidelines, depending on government and regulatory requirements, or voluntarily if formal requirements are not in place.
Disclosures should be made in ESG reports, published on platforms designated by regulatory authorities or independently selected by companies, the guidelines say.
Listed Chinese corporates are required to disclose carbon emissions and environmental impacts, and voluntarily disclose measures to reduce carbon emissions, under rules formulated by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.