Greening the Financial System: Enhancing Competitiveness Through Economic Development

Policy Lever: Directing Finance Through Policy

Policy directed finance approaches introduce requirements or prohibitions that shift capital allocation. Such measures in effect introduce new performance criteria into financial decision-making, which might reduce or increase risk-adjusted returns. The Inquiry found that measures that change the legal requirements facing financial institutions are perhaps the most contentious, but are also widely used.

Examples

Examples in practice include:
  • Lender and other liabilities: legal liability regimes for lenders, fiduciaries and insurers (and responses in terms of due diligence for environmental risk).
  • Capital requirements: adjustments to capital ratios to enable lending towards critical sectors (e.g. for SMEs, green assets).
  • Priority sector lending: integration of environmental and social factors into priority lending programmes.
  • Prohibitions: restrictionson financial transactions due to excessive societal costs e.g. lending to illegal deforestation (Brazil) and pollution intensive industrial plants (China).
  • Directed service provision: requirements that financial institutions provide access to particular financial services such as basic bank accounts and insurance.
  • Mandatory purchase requirements: mandatory requirements for purchase of key financial services (such as insurance) that are essential for system resilience in the face of environmental stress.

Impacts

Measures such as priority lending and strengthened environmental liability have a strong potential for driving change, but need careful design and market preparation to avoid unintended consequences.    

Inquiry Publications

  • Establishing China’s Green Financial System: Progress Report

    Date: 16-Nov-2017

    The report finds that China – which put green finance on the G20 agenda during its 2016 presidency – is following through on its political commitment to boost the financing required to do this. The report looks particularly at progress since the State Council in August 2016 approved a set of recommendations for action on

  • Financing the Future

    Date: 06-Feb-2017

    Italy’s Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, in partnership with UN Environment, launched the National Dialogue on Sustainable Finance in February 2016 to identify practical market and policy options to mobilize Italy’s financial system for sustainable development and climate action. The conclusions of the paper are: Italy faces a strategic opportunity to harness its financial

  • Bangladesh Country Report

    Date: 09-Oct-2015

    Bangladesh has been a leader in developing policies to shape a greener and more inclusive financial system. It has a suite of green banking regulations and policies including concessional green refinancing, credit quotas for green finance and guidance and requirements on environmental due diligence. Green finance is growing but it remains modest compared to the scale of Bangladesh’s

  • France Country Report

    Date: 23-Nov-2015

    This report highlights experience from France in improving the integration of sustainability issues into financial decision-making. A key area of focus has been on improving information and market analysis. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting requirements were first introduced in the New Economics Regulation law of 2001, and strengthened by the 2010 ‘Grenelle II’ law and 2015 the

  • Green Finance for Developing Countries

    Date: 15-Jul-2016

    This report outlines key concerns and needs of developing countries in relation to green finance, particularly focusing on developing countries that are not members of the G20. It also highlights emerging innovations, drawing in particular from engagement with practitioners and regulators from Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Jordan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand

  • China Report

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    The Inquiry collaborated in an 18-month project, Greening China’s Financial System, carried out by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Finance Research Institute (FRI), Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council. The aim was to develop specific proposals for greening China’s financial system, based on an analysis of current practice in China

  • Greening the Rules of the Game

    Date: 23-May-2018

    Over the past four years, the number of measures taken by financial policymakers and regulators to promote green and sustainable finance has significantly increased. This report is the first to chart this ‘quiet revolution’ and analyse this important new trend in terms of the geographical, sectoral and thematic spread of measures. Key findings include: Globally,

  • UK Country Report

    Date: 14-Jan-2016

    This paper looks at the steps that the UK has taken towards a sustainable financial system shaped by its role as a global financial centre and a distinctive dynamic between social entrepreneurs and civil society organisations, market innovation and policy frameworks.The City of London is not only home to some of the world’s largest financial markets, but

  • Greening the Financial System: Enhancing Competitiveness Through Economic Development

    Date: 16-May-2017

    This briefing summarises the discussions held during a roundtable for market and policy leaders in Washington, D.C. on 20 April 2017. The goal of the event was to explore pathways to scale and speed up green finance and to harness its benefits for long-term sustainable growth and competitiveness. The key messages are: Green finance made

  • Lenders and Investors Environmental Liability

    Date: 19-Apr-2016

    This working paper presents an overview of Lender Environmental Liability (LEL) and Investor Environmental Liability (IEL) regimes and issues. Environmental harm and degradation is often irreparable. Therefore, our assumption is that precaution is the main objective of any international and domestic environmental legal regime. The paper explores the conditions under which LEL/IEL can be effective

Copyright © United Nations Environment Programme. All Rights Reserved. Contact us