Designing Low-Carbon Product Standards and Certifications in China

China image 1China's economy has grown extremely rapidly in recent years. In order to deal with the intertwined accompanying issues of energy needs, resource needs and environmental degradation, as well as to explore China's sustainable development alternatives, the Chinese government made a voluntary commitment to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40%-45% by 2020 from 2005 levels. The country also aims to integrate this reduction target into its Medium- and Long-Term Plan for National Economic and Social Development.

In an attempt to meet these goals, as well as to build public awareness of the need for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, China's Twelfth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development (2011-2015) called for the establishment of low-carbon product standards, including labelling and certification, as a way of controlling GHG emissions in the areas of production as well as consumption. It is hoped that such standards will become entrenched within society's day to day lifestyles, resulting in greater public awareness about energy-efficient options.

As a result of a nationally-driven process, the LECB project in China is developing Low Carbon Product Certification Standards and GHG Accounting Methodologies for selected products in the city of Chongqing and the province of Guangdong. Certification pilots will also be conducted. The aim is to establish the fundamentals for certifying low-carbon products, including doing the necessary research on establishing such certification via an accreditation system.

Chongqing city, in midwestern China, is a national experimental zone for rural and urban comprehensive reform. A long-time industrial city, it is listed as one of China's five major national centres. Guangdong Province has been a leader in China's opening-up and reform and a pillar of the national economy in terms of population, manufacturing, foreign trade and consumption.

Interim Measures: Management of Low-carbon Product Certification

In February 2013, the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Administration of Certification and Accreditation of China (CNCA) jointly issued the Interim Measures on Low-Carbon Product Certification Management. The interim measures document establishes the overall organisation for supervising and managing low-carbon certification on a national basis.

Summary of Project Outcomes

Chongqing City: Low-Carbon Product Certification Applied to Motorcycle Manufacturing

China image 2The project team in Chongqing is comprised of individuals from the International Investment Consultation Group Co., Ltd, the Chongqing Institute of Standardisation and the Chengdu branch of the CNCA. The plan was developed within real-world circumstances in Chongqing, by considering priority issues, pilot goals, workplace arrangements and quality control measures, among other aspects.

Chongqing is China's largest motorcycle manufacturing and export centre, with about 40% of the total market share. Implementation of the low-carbon product certification project was based on field investigations, feasibility studies and broad consultations with a variety of stakeholders. Basic parameters of the project state that the product type is the common two-wheeled motorcycle, and the areas for low-carbon evaluation are the product manufacturing period and the product use period.

Guangdong Province: Low-carbon Product Certification Applied to Wrought Aluminium Alloy Extrusion

The project team in Guangdong Province is comprised of individuals from the Guangzhou Branch of the CNCA, the Guangzhou Research Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals and the Guangzhou branch of the China National Institute of Standardisation, under the supervision of the of Guangdong arm of the NDRC.

Extruded aluminium profiles are divided into two types: those for industry and those for construction. Due to the tremendous variety and the high complexity of the products, it was determined that aluminium profiles for industry do not provide a solid starting point for developing a low-carbon certification system. This is due primarily to technological conditions and product influence. However, standards for extruded aluminium profiles for construction exist, and so this industry sub-sector was chosen for the pilot. After conducting on-site research, the project team decided to consider only the manufacturing process as the area to be evaluated in the pilot, excluding the aluminium refining process and product distribution.

The Future of the Campaign for a Low-carbon Certification System in China

Once the Low-carbon Product Certification Pilot has been completed, project teams will analyse and select other products on which to conduct low-carbon product certification demonstrations locally. Domestically developed products that will likely be included are air conditioners, household refrigerators, flat-panel TVs, small- and medium-sized asynchronous motors, flat glass and general-use Portland cement. So far, project teams have made thorough investigations into the distribution of such products and preliminarily identified enterprises likely to receive pilot demonstrations.

Key Messages

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The LECB project in China is setting-up the basis for certifying low-carbon products. This also involves doing the needed research on establishing such certification via an accreditation system.

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A pilot for selected products, including motorcycles and others with significant aluminum content, in the city of Chongqing and the province of Guangdong is underway.

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Chongqing is China's largest motor-cycle manufacturing and export centre, with about 40 percent of the total market share. Implementation of the low-carbon product certification project was based on field investigations, feasibility studies and broad consultations with a variety of stakeholders.

More Info

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