China wants its companies to be more environment-conscious and socially responsible when they invest overseas, according to a guide produced jointly by two ministries. The guide, co-produced by the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, aims to support sustainable development in target markets and improve the image of China\'s foreign investment. The guide, released yesterday, said companies investing overseas should voluntarily protect the environment in the target markets, observe local rules on environment, respect religion, custom and employees\' legal rights, as well as adopt international standard on environmental protection. Last year, Chinese companies invested a record US$26.8 billion in overseas markets through mergers and acquisitions, according to the commerce ministry. China\'s overseas investment surged at an average annual growth rate of 44 percent between 2008 and 2011. china.org.