Companies in Beijing are questioning why the city government has added them to an environmental watch list.
PepsiCo-Beijing, Coca-Cola-Beijing, and Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler are among 27 large water and energy-consuming entities included in the list, which was issued on Tuesday by the Beijing Development and Reform Commission, the capital's economic planning agency.
The companies will be subject to monthly inspections of their environmental compliance starting at the end of the month, according to a statement on the commission's website. It did not specify how long the monitoring would last.
Commission spokesperson Ma Jing told China Daily the capital is targeting the environmental practices of large enterprises to meet the energy saving and emission reduction goals laid out in the city's 11th Five-year Plan (2006 to 2010).
This year is a crucial year for fulfilling these objectives, he said.
"If these companies do a little more in cleaner production, they will contribute a lot to the capital's energy and water saving," said Ma. "This is why they are on the list."
However, companies contacted yesterday by China Daily questioned the credibility of the list, citing examples of ways in which they say they have already made considerable efforts to curb their environmental impacts.
A spokesperson from Coca-Cola said the company will work with officials to further reduce its climate footprint. The company provided documents via e-mail detailing steps it has taken to reduce water consumption and pollution.
"Beijing Coca-Cola Beverage Co met wastewater effluent standards of The Coca-Cola Company and local governments, meaning that discharged water is capable of supporting aquatic life, and it has implemented in-line wastewater monitoring systems, which continuously track wastewater quality, rather than rely on in-person tests," said a company statement.
Pepsi Co issued a similar statement: "All of our Pepsi-Cola bottling facilities in China strictly adhere to the national standards set for wastewater treatment and emissions. All domestic water before being discharged from our bottling facilities goes through a rigorous treatment process to remove pollutants, and the wastewater is subsequently reused for general cleaning and watering of plants and trees."
A manager surnamed Gui from Beijing Power Equipment Group (BPEG) said he believed that it was groundless for the commission to list a small company like BPEG on the list.
BPEG ranks at least 10th among energy consuming companies in Beijing's Fangshan District, he said, indicating its energy needs were not enough to warrant monthly inspections.
Wang Xiaojun, Greenpeace China communications director, said cleaner production is crucial not only for the future of development but also for environmental protection and that more companies should have been added to the list.