Top managers of the country's leading State-owned enterprise (SOE) risk losing promotion opportunities or even jobs if their companies fail to meet energy-saving and pollutant-reduction targets.
An accountability system will be implemented for the managers of the 154 enterprises directly under the supervision of the central government starting September.
The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) urged all its enterprises to draw up detailed steps to help achieve the national green goal.
"The SOEs, which are the pillars of China's economy, should not only do well in profit-making, but also become role models in shouldering corporate responsibility," SASAC head Li Rongrong told a news briefing yesterday.
The accountability system sets green efforts as a decisive factor in determining the career prospects of managers.
The central government has already implemented a similar system to tie the careers of government and Party officials with improvements in the local environment.
Currently, SASAC assesses the performance of the SOE managements mainly on profit making.
The new system aims to make the leading SOEs toe the green line of the central government, which is committed to energy conservation and emission controls.
The government has set the goal of cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and pollutant discharge by 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.
But energy consumption fell only 1.23 percent last year, well short of the annual target of 4 percent.
"It's not only our social responsibility to meet the green goal. In fact, energy saving and pollutant emission reduction can help us save costs and make more profit," Lu Youqing, vice president of Aluminum Corporation of China, told China Daily.
Lu said his company has combined environmental requirements with production procedures to achieve "clean production" and low emissions.
The central enterprises - which control all the country's crude oil and natural gas production, generate half of the electricity and account for 15 percent of coal output - have great potential in energy saving and pollutant reduction, Li said.
He also agreed that the green model of development can help enterprises cut costs.
The bill for coal accounts for 60 percent of the overall cost of electricity generation for the country's five leading power plants. The expenditure on fuel accounts for 40 percent of the total cost of the top three airlines.
Meanwhile, more than 8,000 Chinese enterprises were penalized for pollution offenses in the first eight months this year, Xinhua reported yesterday, quoting Ma Kai, head of the top economic planner.
Ma, who leads the National Development and Reform Commission, told lawmakers attending the 29th session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress yesterday that the government has strengthened supervision of enterprises on energy-efficiency and pollution.
By February, 12 projects that blatantly violated environmental protection regulations had been permanently shut down.
Ma said approval for 103 projects involving investment of 330.9 billion yuan (US$43.8 billion) that failed to meet green standards had been refused or delayed this year.
(China Daily August 30, 2007)