**A Chinese version of this blog post follows the English version.**

China’s State Council-backed think tank, China Enterprise Reform and Development Society (“CERDS“), alongside a number of major Chinese companies including Ping An Insurance Company, issued “The Guidance for Enterprise ESG Disclosure” effective on 1 June 2022 (“Guidance“). The Guidance is China’s first ESG disclosure guideline, and covers all companies and industries.  It follows the environmental disclosure rules issued by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) which came into effect earlier in February 2022 (which we reported here).

The Guidance sets out a framework for Chinese companies to report under 3 primary indicators of environmental, social and governance metrics, which are further divided into 10 secondary indicators, 35 tertiary indicators and 118 total metrics. The Guidance is applicable to voluntary or mandatory disclosure requirements (if any), that may apply to Chinese companies.  Each Chinese company can choose the applicable time cycle for making its  disclosures. The final deliverable, if disclosure is made in accordance with the Guidance, is an official ESG report that is made available on a platform designated by the regulatory authority (if any) or chosen by the Chinese company. This official ESG report is for use by various bodies including regulators, investors, media, and the general public.

The most notable quality of the Guidance is that it adapts ESG standards to fit the Chinese business landscape and the requirements of domestic laws and regulations. This includes references to unique features of China’s social welfare system, such as social security (社保) and the housing provident fund (公积金).

While compliance with the Guidance is currently voluntary, it serves as a good starting point for Chinese companies to begin exploring the application of ESG standards adapted for and developed in a local context.  This approach has been applied in other jurisdictions in Asia, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, that adopted a flexible “comply or explain” approach initially before moving to more prescriptive or mandatory regimes. It is likely that broader, mandatory reporting for ESG is on the horizon in China.


中国发布首份ESG披露指南:有中国特色的国际标准

由中国国务院支持的智囊机构中国企业改革与发展研究会(中企研)及包括中国平安在内的主要公司发布的《企业ESG披露指南》,于2022年6月1日正式实施。此指南是中国首份ESG披露指南,适用于所有企业及行业。指南随由生态环境部发布并于2022年2月生效的《企业环境信息依法披露管理办法》发布(我们在这报道过)。

指南为中国企业列明一个框架,分别在环境、社会、和治理设置了3个一级指标,并细分为10个二级指标、35个三级指标及总共118个四级指标。该指南适用于中国企业可能遵循的自愿性或强制性披露要求(如有)。每个中国企业都可以选择披露周期。如果按照该指南进行披露,最终提交的文件是一份官方的ESG报告,可在监管机构指定的平台(如有)或中国企业选择的平台上获取。该ESG官方报告可供包括监管机构、投资者、媒体与公众在内的各机构使用。

指南最大的特点是它采用了ESG标准以适应中国的营商环境和国内法律法规的要求。其中包括提述一些中国社会福利制度的特点,如社保和公积金。

虽然目前遵守该指南为自愿性的,但是此指南仍为中国企业在探索本地环境下适用ESG标准提供了一个良好的起点。这种方法已在亚洲的其它司法管辖区得到应用,如香港和新加坡,这些司法管辖区最初采用了灵活的“遵守或解释”方法,此后转向更具规定性或强制性的制度。在不久的将来,中国很有可能会实施更广泛的强制性披露要求.

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