Oct. 22, 2017


Environmental NGOS Demand Pharmaceutical Company Disclose Emission Statistics

 Source: Friends of Nature’s blog 6/13/2011
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_69a4de060100thnb.html

 

On June 5, 2011, the media revealed that the Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. General Pharm. Factory (HGPF) has been violating limits on pollution discharge. As organizations that have long been concerned with the environmental behavior of industry, Friends of Nature (FON), the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), Green Earth Volunteers (GEV) and Green Longjiang, we believe that the HGPF should take corrective action as soon as possible and disclose information about how it is dealing with its emissions violation. We also advise relevant parties to punish the HGPF in accordance with the law for its violation of regulations about information disclosure.

1. The Environmental Protection Bureau of Heilongjiang Province should penalize the HGPF further for its violations and disclose related environmental information for the enterprise.

This is not the first time that there have been pollution problems at HGPF. On November 18, 2009, the Heilongjiang provincial Environmental Protection Bureau published a document, Notice about Disclosing the 2009 List of Important Enterprises Undertaking Clean Production Audits, (Environmental Protection Bureau of Heilongjiang Province [2009] No. 160), to force the HGPF to undertake a clean production audit. The document also required the enterprise to publicly disclose its main pollutants within one month and to finish the audit in one year. However the HGPF still has not disclosed its emission statistics and audit progress to the public.    

                                                                                   

If the HGPF had published its emission statistics at that time, and completed the auditing process by the end of 2010, there would not have been such a harmful impact on  the environment, which has in turn damaged nearby residents’ health and eroded investor profits. 

We suggest that, under the requirements of the No. 160 document mentioned above, according to Article 40 and Article 41 of the Cleaner Production Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China and Article 21 of the Measures on Publicizing Environmental Information (for Trial Implementation), the HGPF should pay a fine of at most 100,000 yuan, and the Environmental Protection Bureau of Heilongjiang Province should publish the enterprise’s emission statistics and audit progress. If the audit is completed, the enterprise should publish the results publicly; if not, it should be punished.

 

2.  The Shanghai Stock Exchange should punish and reprimand the HGPF for not disclosing its environmental information.

In 2008, the Shanghai Stock ExchangeSSE) released the Guidelines on Environmental Information Disclosure by Listed Companies. Article 2 of the Guideline requires that if companies that have been included in the list of serious polluting enterprises by the state Environmental Protection Bureau, these listed companies shall, within two days from the date the incident happens, disclose the circumstances of the incident as well as the possible influences on corporate operations and stakeholders.

And Article 4 of the Guidelines requires that the listed companies that have been included in the list of serious polluting enterprises should disclose the following information within two days after the list issued by the state Environmental Protection Bureau:

(1) The names of the pollutants; the emission method; the emission concentration and the total amount of emissions; the excess emissions, and the situation of the total excess;

(2) The company’s environmental protection facilities construction and operation;

(3) The company’s contingency plan for environmental accidents;

(4) Measures taken for companies to reduce pollutant emissions and future working arrangements.

As mentioned above, on November 18, 2009, the HGPF was included in the list of serious polluting enterprises by document No. 160 of Heilongjiang’s Environmental Protection Bureau. But its parent company, the Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Co. (HPGC) did not disclosed related information until the scandal was exposed by CCTV on June 5, 2011. After causing heavy losses to investors, the company made an announcement to explain the situation, but mentioned nothing about its being included in the list of serious polluting enterprises, let alone the pollutants emission statistics.

Such attempted concealment of an enterprise’s environmental information violates the requirements of the Guideline. According to Article 8 of the Guideline, we suggest that the SSE should take necessary disciplinary measures regarding HPGC and responsible personnel.

3. As the HPGC and Sanjing Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Sangjing) are undertaking a material assets restructuring, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) should require them to undergo this year’s stock market pre-listing environmental inspection, and they should not get the approval for restructuring until the department releases results.

A major assets restructuring at HPGC means the Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Biological Engineering Co., Ltd. will become a subsidiary of the HPGC, which will increase the number of shares outstanding.

According to Article 10 of The Measures for Administering Material Assets Restructuring of Publicly Listed Companies, a listed company intending to conduct material assets restructuring shall meet the state’s industrial policies, laws and administrative regulations; at the same time, the restructuring should not cause the listed company’s failure to meet the requirement for publicly listed stocks.

The environmental compliance reviews for heavily polluting industries that are listed on the stock market are carried out by the Environmental Protection Bureau. If the Bureau does not make a full investigation and verification, and allows the company to invest in the new subsidiary, it cannot ensure that public listing and financing is environmentally sound, and also cannot protect investors from investing in companies committing environmental violations. Therefore, the CSRC should make a complete inspection before it approves the HPGC’s material assets restructuring. Moreover, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the environmental technology verification report should be disclosed and be subject to supervision by the public.

4. The HGPF should undertake corrective action as soon as possible, improve the process for disclosing environmental information, and throughout this process, disclose pollution statistics to residents and communities.

The public has lost confidence in the HPGC because of its serious environmental problems.

To solve the problem of the HPGC’s water pollution, in 2006, enforcement officers from the Harbin Environmental Protection Bureau asked the company to formulate long-term pollution control and to limit production and emissions in order to ensure that water quality would meet national standards before the deadline of the corrective period. At that time, the manager of the factory promised that corrective action would be taken before December 2006.

Regarding the HGPF’s odor pollution problems, the Harbin Environmental Protection Bureau sent a notice asking the company to take corrective measures in 2004. Again, in 2007, the Bureau sent a notice and took appropriate measures to require the factory to improve pollution control facilities for four important production processes. In July of 2009, for the third time, the Bureau issued a notice to the factory and demanded that they eliminate the “strange smell” by the end of the year.

However, this time limit was not enforced, and the entire effort was left unfinished.The HPGC’s air and water pollution issues continued until the media exposed the problem on June 5, 2011,

If the HPGC really wants to communicate to the public its sincerity about addressing its environmental problems, it should further explain the violations and disclose the corrective measures to the public.

In dealing with the issues of air and water pollution raised by nearby residents, the HPGC should undertake corrective measures as well as publicize its emissions to residents throughout the process. Learning from the exemplary practice ofBeijing waste treatment plants and the publicly traded Lotus Gourmet Powder, the HPGC could set up an LED screen in front of its gate to show their major pollution discharge and relevant pollution standards, publicizing related information on its website at the same time. If the factory cannot reduce its pollution to a point where it is able to consistently meet relevant standards, it should reduce or stop production until the problem is  corrected or the factory is relocated.

Alliance:

Friends of Nature

Green Longjiang

Institute of Public Environmental Affairs

Green Earth volunteers

Heilongjiang CPPCC members, Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, director of ultrasound, PhD supervisor ,Tian Jiawei

 

Translators:Wang Sijia; Liang Tingting

Proofreader: Jessica Wilczak

 

 

 




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