Safeguarding People and the Environment in Chinese Investments

Social and environmental safeguards are meant to protect people and ecosystems from the negative impacts of investment projects. Safeguards are policies, standards and systems that developers, investors and financiers implement to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of their business activities. Safeguards should be implemented during the entire project cycle, from identification, design and preparation, through development and operation, to the closure of a project.

Chinese companies and financiers often lack strong institutional policies to deal with social and environmental issues. However, this is beginning to change. China’s policy banks have adopted internal social and environmental policies. Several Chinese companies have made commitments to operate in a responsible manner when operating overseas, and some have signed on to international principles and standards. Importantly, Chinese state institutions and industry groups have recognized the need for improved social and environmental standards in overseas investments and in recent years have issued increasingly detailed regulations for overseas investment and several sector specific guidelines.

These regulations and guidelines are discussed in detail in Inclusive Development International’s publication Safeguarding People and the Environment in Chinese Investments: A Guide for Community Advocates. The policies, standards and guidelines covered in that publication are compiled here for reference. New documents will be posted as and when they are adopted.

General Principles

State Council (2006), Nine Principles on Encouraging and Standardizing Foreign InvestmentEnglishChinese

State Council (2007), Opinions of the State Council on Encouraging and Standardizing Enterprises’ Cooperation in Foreign InvestmentEnglishChinese

Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (2008), Circular to Regulate the Overseas Investment and Cooperation of Chinese CompaniesEnglish, Chinese

Policies, Plans and Guidelines Applying to Investment in the Belt and Road Initiative

Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (2016), The 13th Five Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of ChinaEnglish (Note: Chapter 51 focuses on the Belt and Road Initiative)

National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Ministry of Commerce (2015), Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. EnglishChinese

Office of the Leading Group for the Belt and Road Initiative (2017), Building the Belt and Road: Concept, Practice and China’s Contribution. EnglishChineseSpanishFrench, Russian, German, Arabic

National Development and Reform Commission & National Energy Administration (2017), Vision and Actions on Energy Cooperation in Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. English, Chinese

National Development and Reform Commission & Ministry of Agriculture (2017), Vision and Actions on Agriculture Cooperation in Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. Chinese, English

National Development and Reform Commission & State Oceanic Administration (2017), Vision for Maritime Cooperation Under the Belt and Road Initiative. EnglishChineseRussianArabicSpanishGermanFrench

Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission & Ministry of Commerce (2017), Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road. EnglishChinese

Ministry of Environmental Protection (2017), The Belt and Road Ecological and Environmental Cooperation Plan. English, Chinese

Finance Ministers of Argentina, Belarus, Cambodia, Chile, China, Czech, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Serbia, Sudan, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey & United Kingdom (2017), Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road. English, Chinese

Approval and Monitoring of Overseas Investment

Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (2016), The 13th Five Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of ChinaEnglish (Note: Chapter 50, Section 2 focuses on regulation of outbound investment)

Ministry of Commerce (2013), Provisions on Standardizing Competition in Foreign Investment and CooperationEnglish, Chinese

Ministry of Commerce et al (2013), Provisional Measures for Recording Bad Credit in the Fields of Outbound Investment and Cooperation and Foreign TradeEnglish, Chinese

Ministry of Commerce (2014), Administrative Measures on Outbound InvestmentEnglishChinese

State Council (2017), Guidelines on Further Guiding and Regulating Overseas Investments. English, Chinese

National Development and Reform Commission (2017), Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment of Enterprises. English, Chinese

Ministry of Commerce et al (2018), Interim Measures for Recording and Pre-approval of Outbound InvestmentChinese

Overseas Aid

Ministry of Commerce (2014), Measures for the Administration of Overseas Aid (Trial). English.

China International Development Cooperation Agency (2018), Measures for the Administration of Overseas Aid (Draft). English & Chinese.

Regulations & Guidelines Applying to State-owned Enterprises

State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (2007), Guidelines to the State-owned Enterprises Directly Under the Central Government on Fulfilling Corporate Social ResponsibilitiesEnglish, Chinese

State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (2017), Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Overseas Investment by Central EnterprisesChinese

Guidelines on Environmental Protection

Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Environmental Protection (2013), Guidelines for Environmental Protection in Foreign Investment and Cooperation. English, ChineseKhmerBurmese, FrenchSpanish

Regulations & Guidelines Applying to Contractors

State Council (2008), Administrative Regulation on Contracting Foreign Projects. English, Chinese

China International Contractors Association (2012), Guide on Social Responsibility for Chinese International ContractorsChinese & English (Note: scroll down for English)

China International Contractors Association (2017), Guidelines of Sustainable Infrastructure for Chinese International Contrac­torsEnglish

China International Contractors Association (2018), Operational Manual for the Guide on Social Responsibility for Chinese International Contractors. Chinese

Sector Specific Guidelines

Mining

China Chamber of Commerce of Metals Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (updated 2017), Guidelines for Social Responsibility in Outbound Mining InvestmentsEnglishChineseSpanishFrench (Note: There is not yet official translation of the updated 2017 guidelines in Spanish and French. The versions included here are translations of the original 2014 guidelines, which have now been replaced)

China Chamber of Commerce of Metals Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (2015), Chinese Due Diligence Guidelines for Responsible Mineral Supply Chains. English, ChineseSpanishFrench

Rubber

China Chamber of Commerce of Metals Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (2017), Guidance for Sustainable Natural Rubber. EnglishChinese

Agriculture

China Association for the Promotion of International Agricultural Cooperation (2018), Guidelines on China’s Sustainable Agricultural Overseas InvestmentEnglishChinese

Forestry

State Forestry Administration & Ministry of Commerce (2007), Guide on Sustainable Overseas Silviculture by Chinese EnterprisesEnglishChinese

State Forestry Administration & Ministry of Commerce (2009), Guide on Sustainable Overseas Forest Management and Utilization by Chinese Enterprises. EnglishChinese

Information Communication Technology

Committee on Social Responsibility of the China Electronics Standardization Association (2012), Social Responsibility Guidelines for the Chinese Information Technology Industry. Chinese

Hydropower

Sinohydro (2013), Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Policy StatementEnglish

Sinohydro (2014), Sustainable Development PolicyEnglish

Sinohydro (2014), Statement of Ethical PrinciplesEnglish

Sinohydro (2014), Compliance Program AnnouncementEnglish & Chinese

Sinohydro (undated), Environmental protection policy statementEnglish

Sinohydro (undated), Good Governance PolicyEnglish

Sinohydro (undated), Occupational Health and Safety Policy StatementEnglish

China Datang Corporation (undated), Regulation on Environmental Protection. Chinese

China Datang Corporation (2009), Regulation on Project Safety, Health and EnvironmentChinese

China Datang Corporation (2011), Handbook on Safety Risk Evaluation for Datang’s Hydropower CompaniesChinese

China Three Gorges Corporation (2017), Sustainable Development PolicyEnglish & Chinese

China Three Gorges Corporation (2017), Ethical and Compliance PrincipleEnglish & Chinese

Guidelines Currently in Development

China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (Consultation Draft), Guide for Overseas Investment and Production of Sustainable Palm Oil by Chinese EnterprisesEnglish (version 4.1) Chinese (version 3.0)

State Forestry Administration & China Academy of Forestry, Guidelines for Overseas Sustainable Forest Products Trade and Investment by Chinese Enterprises (Consultation Draft) – English

Regulations and Guidelines Applying to the Finance Sector

China Banking Association (2009), Corporate Social Responsibility GuidelinesEnglishChinese

China Banking Regulatory Commission (2012), Green Credit Guidelines. English, ChineseSpanish

China Banking Regulatory Commission (2013), General Office of the China Banking Regulatory Commission Opinions on Green Credit Implementation. EnglishChinese

China Banking Regulatory Commission (2014), Notice of the China Banking Regulatory Commission on Key Performance Indicators of Green Credit Implementation. EnglishChinese

China Banking Regulatory Commission (2014), Key Performance Indicators of Green Credit Implementation. EnglishChinese

People’s Bank of China et al (2016), Guidelines on the Construction of Green Financial System. Chinese & English (Note: scroll down for English)

China Banking Regulatory Commission (2017), Guidelines on Regulating the Banking Industry in Serving Enterprises’ Overseas Development and Strengthening Risk Control. EnglishChinese

Bank Policies

China Eximbank (2007), Guidelines for Environmental and Social Impact Assessments of the China Export and Import Bank’s Loan Projects. EnglishChinese

China Eximbank (2016), White Paper on Green Finance. English

Bank of China Hong Kong (2013), Environmental PolicyEnglish

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2015), Articles of Agreement – EnglishChineseFrench

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2016), Environmental and Social Framework – English

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2018), Policy on Public Information. English

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2018), Public Information Requests Processing Directive. English

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2018), Policy on the Project-affected People’s MechanismEnglish

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (2018), Draft Rules of Procedure of the Project-Affected People’s MechanismEnglish

Voluntary Initiatives

Equator Principles

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas

United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)

United Nations Global Compact

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

Other Materials Focusing on Chinese Overseas Standards

Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Nathalie et al. (2013), Chinese Outward Investment: An Emerging Policy Framework, International Institute for Sustainable Development. EnglishChinese

Friends of the Earth US (2015), Going Out, But Going Green? Assessing the Implementation of China’s Green Credit Guidelines Overseas. English

Friends of the Earth US (2016), Emerging Sustainability Frameworks: China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank. English

Friends of the Earth US (2017), Investing in a Green Belt and Road? Assessing the Implementation of China’s Green Credit Guidelines Abroad. EnglishChinese

Garzón, P. (2018), Legal Manual on Chinese Environmental and Social Guidelines for Foreign Loans and Investments: A Guide for Local Communities (Third Edition), Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales, CDES. English, SpanishPortuguese

International Rivers (2012), The New Great Walls: A Guide to China’s Overseas Hydropower Industry (Second Edition). English, ChineseSpanish

International Rivers (2014), Guide to Sinohydro International’s environment and social policies in hydropower development projects. English

International Rivers (2014), Guide to PowerChina Resources’ environment and social policies in hydropower development projects. English

International Rivers, Benchmarking the Policies and Practices of International Hydropower Companies – Environmental and Social Policies and Practices of Chinese Overseas Hydropower Companies, Part A: Methodology and Analysis. English

International Rivers, Benchmarking the Policies and Practices of International Hydropower Companies – Environmental and Social Policies and Practices of Chinese Overseas Hydropower Companies, Part B: Benchmarking Findings Summary by Company. English

Mekong Watch and 3SPN (2014), Community Guide on China’s Guidelines for Environmental Protection in Foreign Investment and CooperationEnglish, KhmerLaos