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China issues guideline to accelerate carbon footprint management

By Ouyang Shijia | | Updated: 2023-11-23 10:41
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A worker installs photovoltaic power generation panels in Zhangye, Gansu province, on Sept 7, 2021. [WANG JIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

China has issued a guidance to accelerate the establishment of a product carbon footprint management system, as part of its larger drive to achieve its carbon peak and neutrality goals.

The move aims to enhance carbon footprint management for key products, promote green and low-carbon transition in related industries, and further spur green and low-carbon consumption, according to the document released by the National Development and Reform Commission and other four central departments on Wednesday.

The commission said the product carbon footprint is a form of carbon emission accounting, which usually refers to the total carbon emissions caused during a product’s life-cycle, from raw material processing, transportation and manufacturing, to sales. It is an important indicator for measuring the green and low-carbon levels of enterprises and products.

The guidance said that, by 2025, carbon footprint accounting rules and standards for approximately 50 key products will be introduced at the national level. A batch of carbon footprint background databases for key industries will be established and the national product carbon labeling certification system will be basically in place.

By then, the application of carbon footprint accounting and labeling in production, consumption, trade and finance will significantly expand, with carbon footprint accounting rules, standards and labeling for several key products achieving international recognition.

It said that, by 2030, carbon footprint accounting rules and standards for around 200 key products will be enacted at the national level. A batch of carbon footprint background databases covering a wide range of fields, characterized by high-quality data and strong international influence, will be established. 

The guidance also said that, by 2030, the national product carbon labeling certification system will be fully established, with carbon labeling gaining widespread acceptance from enterprises and consumers. Carbon footprint accounting rules, standards and labels for major products will be recognized internationally, and the product carbon footprint management system will provide robust support for the green transition and economic and social development.

Key tasks mapped out by the document include the formulation of rules and standards for product carbon footprint accounting, strengthening the construction of carbon footprint background databases, establishing a product carbon labeling certification system, enriching the application scenarios for product carbon footprints, and promoting international alignment and mutual recognition of carbon footprints.

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