China Report: Internalizing Climate Mitigation for Financial Policy-Makers

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

  • 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

  • Green Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries

    Date: 23-Oct-2017

    This paper focuses on the actual and potential role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in achieving the transition to a low-carbon, just and sustainable world and, more specifically, FDI flows into developing countries. The particular implications of FDI on the environment – both potentially positive and negative – have given rise to an interest in

  • China Report: A Systemic View of the Insurance Industry and Sustainable Development

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    The contribution of the insurance industry to sustainable development relates to its three roles as a financial loss “shock absorber” in reducing real risks to assets, in safety and health, and as a significant investor in the real economy. Particular areas where the insurance industry is responding to sustainable development challenges are in relation to

  • Greening the Financial System: Exploring the Ways Forward

    Date: 01-Nov-2017

    This briefing summarises the discussions held during the “Greening the Financial System: Exploring the Ways Forward” event in Washington, D.C. on 12 October 2017. The goal of this convening, the fourth in the series, was to examine lessons from developing and implementing green finance initiatives over the last few years and to highlight successful examples

  • Green Tagging: Mobilising Bank Finance for Energy Efficiency in Real Estate

    Date: 12-Dec-2017

    This report finds that green tagging around real estate and energy efficiency is growing at a critical time. Based on a survey of the 10 participating banks, the report identifies five key trends around green tagging: New green business opportunities are a stronger incentive for green tagging than improved risk management for banks. This practice

  • Delivering The Green Economy Through Financial Policy

    Date: 07-May-2014

    This working paper was produced for the early stage of the Inquiry to provide an inital overview of the areas where the financial sector can have an impact on moving the green economy forward and the extent to which green financial policy is already actively being practiced. The paper is focused on financial regulation and the instruments of financial policy that

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Green Insurance

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    The rapid and continuous increase of environmental incidents in China in recent years has led to severe impacts on its sustainable social and economic development and public health. This paper sets out the case for green insurance as a market-based risk management mechanism which could play a proactive role in preventing and transferring environmental pollution risks and

  • China Report: Lessons from the Development of Green Finance in China

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    With the initial progress of China’s green finance market, some lessons are emerging that are useful both for the further development of the green finance system and for other emerging market countries embarking on green finance development.  Strategic political commitment has been the key driver for China’s development of green finance, but translating this into

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Lender Liability

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    In the event of a project causing environmental damage, in many countries its commercial lenders can also face legal liabilities. This forces lenders to take environmental impact into consideration in making investment and financing decisions. This paper makes the case for establishing environmental legal liabilities for commercial banks in China and highlights steps to take to implement this: Revise

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