A new certification scheme was launched yesterday to raise companies' interest in green management and get them to become more concerned about environmental protection. The Hong Kong Green Mark Certification Scheme is being handled by the Hong Kong Q-Mark Council, which expects to issue the first batch of certificates in May. 'The aim is to help companies identify factors relating to the environment so they can control and monitor them,' said council chairman Cliff Sun. 'We will also help these companies establish environmental protection standards to raise the level of green management.' The Green Mark certificate will be awarded to manufacturing and service companies on the mainland, in Hong Kong and Macau. 'Successful applicants will have to comply with a number of requirements, including environmental management, efficient use of resources, use of recycled materials, adoption of pollution-prevention measures, and waste treatment,' said the council's director, William Chan Kwong-tung. A few companies and factories had made inquiries before the scheme was launched, Mr Chan said. The council said the new scheme was similar to the one for the international environmental management certificate ISO14000. Mr Sun said: 'The difference is that the cost of applying for our scheme is much less as we are a non-profit-making organisation. 'And the requirements for the ISO14000 certificate are so stringent that many small and medium-sized businesses will not be able to meet them.' The application fee for the scheme will be HK$3,000, compared with 'tens of thousands' for the international one. Joining the Hong Kong Green Mark Certification Scheme would enable companies to become more familiar with the international community's environmental concerns, Mr Sun said. Chan Kei-biu, chairman of the Hong Kong Green Manufacturing Alliance, which is helping to implement the scheme, said industry needed to become more concerned about the environment to be competitive. If companies did not do so, he said, they would find it hard to do business in Europe. The Hong Kong Q-Mark Council falls under the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.