Dynamics and perspectives
Focus on green value "2018 Corporate Green Product Research Report" released
On July 27, 2018, the 10th China Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Conference hosted by Southern Weekend was held in Beijing. “Explore Green Value” is the annual unit of attention of this annual meeting. Zhang Xin, Vice President of the China National Institute of Standardization, and Ma Jun, founder and director of the Public Environmental Research Center, Zhou Jinfeng, Secretary General of China Green Development Association, BASF Global Senior Vice President Zheng Daqing and other experts and scholars, business representatives, government officials and the media gathered at the scene to discuss topics related to “green value”.
Southern Weekend Green News Department Editor Wang Wei released "2018 Enterprise Green Product Research Report"
The "2018 Enterprise Green Product Research Report" was released at the annual meeting, and the status quo of green products in China was described around the definition, standards and benefits of green products. Environmental protection and green are the foundation of all high values. Green products can save more resources and costs for enterprises and bring higher economic benefits. To promote China's green development requires enterprises to play an active role in it.
The product is green, who has the final say
What is a green product? It is difficult to give an answer.
In the "Opinions on Establishing a Unified Green Product Standard, Certification, and Labeling System", the connotation requirements for green products are: based on the whole life cycle concept, in the life cycle of product acquisition, production, sales, use, disposal, etc. In the middle, the connotation of green products should take into account the characteristics of low energy consumption, low pollutant emissions, low toxicity, low harm, easy recycling and reuse, health and safety, and high quality.
In the questionnaire, for the definition of green products, in general, management based on life cycle analysis has the most choices.
Energy saving and emission reduction is the most recognized and easily understood indicator. In the production process, the most recognized indicators for enterprises are “reducing energy consumption, using renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions”. All enterprises have chosen this one, and 90% of enterprises believe that they have achieved this.
From the perspective of packaging, logistics and recycling processes, the use of green packaging and green logistics has received the second most recognition. In addition to the existing options, there are also companies that recommend green design from the start.
On the whole, supporting green finance is the least recognized indicator, and it is also the indicator that the company itself achieves the least.
Is it a green product, who has the final say? All respondents believe that certification should be provided by a third-party reference standard.
There are many green product logos at home and abroad. The surveyed companies generally believe that the green products sold in China are not as loose or stricter as other countries.
However, domestic companies are not active in certain international certifications.
For example, ice cream, French fries, instant noodles, cosmetics, and plastic rubber products all contain palm oil. 19% of the world's palm oil has been certified by RSPO. China is the world's second largest palm oil importer with only 87 certified members. The goal of RSPO in the Chinese market is that 10% of the total palm oil imported by China in 2020 will be continuously certified by RSPO.
Some respondents believe that “China’s green product standards are not very clear. It may not have international certification value?” Southern Weekend also reported that some experts believe that “Chinese companies generally lack relevant capabilities and awareness, and more Dealing with traders and government requirements, most of them are in a state of certification for certification.” Some experts pointed out that foreign companies report for export and break down barriers; internally, for marketing or subsidies, the purpose is very strong.
With the introduction of consumer products upgrades, the requirements for green certification have been further improved.
Green certification has ushered in a top-level reform for all kinds of chaos. In 2015, the “Overall Plan for the Reform of Ecological Civilization System” proposed “establishing a unified green product system”, which required the unification of all kinds of green products set up by environmental protection, energy conservation, water conservation, recycling, low carbon, regeneration, and organic. It was listed as the key reform task of 2016 by the central comprehensive deepening reform leadership group.
In December 2017, 13 national standards such as “Green Product Evaluation Wood-based Panel and Wood Flooring” were released, and the implementation date was July 1, 2018.
Self-declaration to prevent "greenwashing", information disclosure needs to be strengthened
From passive to active, self-declaration of green products and services has also become a trend. However, in the absence of supervision, the company's self-declaration is prone to "Green Wash" phenomenon. Since the launch of the Southern Weekend in 2010, a large number of companies have screamed green slogans and green achievements on the one hand, and environmental violations on the other.
In the latest National Standard for Green Product Evaluation, environmental violations will affect green certification. After implementation, it will further curb greening behavior.
For example, the national standard of "Green Product Evaluation Coatings" (GB/T 35602-2017) stipulates in the basic requirements of production enterprises: within 3 years from the evaluation date, the enterprises to be evaluated should have no major safety accidents and/or large environmental emergencies. The enterprise shall also comply with the requirements of environmental protection laws and regulations such as environmental impact assessment and pollutant discharge permit system.
However, the news is not reported, and when the company emphasizes its green attributes, the environmental information disclosure is still not good.
The financial industry has issued a large number of CSR reports, but the green bonds in the green financial system are far from the average consumer. In this survey, it was also found that green finance is the least recognized indicator of respondents.
On November 2, 2017, the Corporate Environmental Information Disclosure Index Research Group under the Environmental Economic Research Center of Fudan University released the Corporate Environmental Information Disclosure Index (2017), which shows that the environmental information transparency of listed companies has been obvious in the past three years. Improvements, in terms of percentage system, the 2016 Corporate Environmental Information Disclosure Index scored 41.52, which was 4.66% and 14.25% higher than the 2015 and 2014 scores, respectively. However, the failure of the score still means that only a small number of enterprises have a systematic awareness of disclosure, and most of the information disclosure of enterprises is still in a "spontaneous" state, with a high degree of fragmentation.
In fact, in the past year, in the questionnaire, “has the branch, subsidiary or holding company ever been punished by the state regulatory authorities for violating environmental regulations?” All respondents chose “none” or “inconvenient to disclose”, but according to The azure map database developed by IPE can search for violation records.
Green brings more benefits
Does the company need to provide preferential policies for the production of green products? Except for one unanswered, all of them said that they need to provide preferential policies by the government. As a subjective issue, the reasons are concentrated on the high cost and the desire to promote consumers' purchase.
Although companies call for preferential policies, this may lead to rent-seeking behavior. In 2017, the Ministry of Finance recovered the funds for new energy vehicles and fined about 2.3 billion yuan. In 2018, environmental protection organization Shanghai Qingyue found five suspected environmentally-friendly credit-prone enterprises in Anhui, Hunan, and Shanxi to enjoy tax incentives or financial subsidies.
It can be seen that this type of fraudulent behavior requires more third-party supervision.
However, while costs may rise, green products also bring greater benefits to the company. All the companies surveyed regard it as a strategic development direction and image propaganda means, and also enhance the corporate brand image, but also increase the soft benefits of customer satisfaction and loyalty. No company believes that there is no positive benefit. At the same time, about half of the companies believe that they have increased sales.
Whether it is B or C, consumers' awareness is improving. Many respondents believe that foreign countries, especially Europe, have emphasized the green nature of products. Nowadays, China's domestic brands are constantly improving. Commercial customers at the B end are particularly visible.
For products with green attributes, does the consumer increase their purchasing intentions? The results of the questionnaire show that most companies believe that they have increased their purchasing intentions, and a small number of them have not been monitored or have difficult results. No company believes that green is not related to the willingness to buy.
On July 11, 2018, Metro China's Director of External Affairs Zhou Haibing introduced the 2018 China Sustainable Palm Oil Supply Chain Forum and the 2nd RSPO China Forum. Compared with the consumption data, when the certification logo was promoted, it was probably less than when there was no publicity. There is a 20% increase. This kind of propaganda refers to a special propagandist explaining the meaning behind the logo to consumers. “Many consumers will be willing to spend a little more money to contribute to society.”
This shows that the issue of “not being recognized or recognized by consumers” is not recognized by consumers, but is not yet sufficiently recognized.
In short, the 2018 Corporate Green Product Research Report plans to analyze and discuss the definition, standards, costs, benefits and difficulties of China's green products, and draw some conclusions and recommendations.
1. Green products are not only with a green concept and a verbal commitment, but with specific indicators. Green product standards will play a more green and high-end leading role, from green product evaluation national standards, group standards, to leading enterprise standards, all-round support for product quality upgrades.
2. The market for green consumption is expanding. Before getting approval from consumers, it is first necessary for consumers to recognize the green nature of products.
3. When self-declaration becomes more and more a trend, companies should be good at applying metaphors, graphics, and visual techniques, use more forms to express closeness to consumers, tell stories, and introduce the green attributes of products.
4. Enterprises believe that green products need government support, but this requires greater transparency and information disclosure to prevent fraudulent behaviors that do not meet the conditions.
5. In order to prevent the phenomenon of “greenwashing”, in addition to strengthening self-discipline and information disclosure, enterprises also need to be supervised by third parties such as environmental protection organizations.
For a long time, Chinese manufacturing has followed the development of international experience. Today, Chinese products have also reached the stage of exporting experience. The green value is hidden in the connotation of the product, waiting to be discovered and carried forward.