The Role of Policy-Driven Institutions

Policy Lever: Enhancing Market Practice

 Levers to enhance market practice are focused on improving the efficiency and accountability of financial markets. They  improve risk assessment and pricing - ultimately seeking to improve investor decision-making and returns.  This has to date been the most popular approach to internalizing sustainable development into financial decision-making.

Examples

Key approaches include:
  • Fiduciary duty and capacity: clarifying that duties to clients include sustainability factors and including requirements for knowledge and training on sustainability for fiduciaries.
  • Incentives: Encouraging asset owners to ensure better alignment of incentives along the investment chain.
  • Prudential risk management regulation: Integrating sustainability into guidance & requirements on risk management and controls.
  • Stress tests: Developing scenarios to test impact of environmental shocks on assets and business models.
  • Capital requirements: Calibrating capital requirements to incorporate environmental factors.
  • Disclosure requirements: Making environmental reporting by financial institutions and non-financial corporations mandatory.
  • Equity analysis: Encouraging greater transparency in equity analysis of incorporation of sustainability factors.
  • Credit ratings: Encouraging the integration of sustainability risk factors into credit analysis.
  • Green assets Adjusting standards and rules to facilitate capital raising (e.g. green bonds, green sukuks, green IPOs, yieldcos).
  • Indexes: Ensuring that benchmarks and indices reflect critical sustainability factors.

Impacts

These measures provide critical foundations of information needed to sensitise financial decision making to environmental impacts and risks, but they are likely to have a modest impact unless they are combined with additional shifts that make these risks financially material.   

Inquiry Publications

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Green Banking System

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    This paper sets out the case for establishing a green banking system in China. It recommends the establishment of a system of green banks empowered to fully leverage their expertise, scale, and risk management to manage green loans and investments. A China Ecological Development Bank should be established in which the government does not have to have a

  • 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

  • China Report: Problems and Difficulties in the Development of China’s Green Finance

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    In recent years, financial market policy-makers and regulators in China have shown leadership in advancing their roles in creating a green financial system. However, the impacts to date have been constrained by countervailing forces. In particular, the performance criteria on which local government officials are assessed still prioritizes economic growth over environmental compliance. The positive

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Environmental Cost Analysis

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    China’s existing accounting system fails to effectively evaluate environmental costs, leading to them being interested in investment, commercial and policy decision-making. This paper sets out the case for creating a public non-profit environmental cost analysis system, to give access to environmental data and methodologies, and reduce the cost and information barriers to evaluating the true environmental cost of investment

  • China Report: The Risks and Opportunities of Stranded Assets

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    The rise and fall of different technologies, products and businesses are central to rising productivity in healthy, well-functioning markets. This process can result in “stranded assets”—assets that have suffered from unanticipated or premature write-downs, devaluations or conversion to liabilities. Stranded assets are therefore a regular and necessary feature of dynamic economic systems, a phenomenon inherent

  • 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

  • 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 Report: Internalizing Climate Mitigation for Financial Policy-Makers

    Date: 06-Oct-2015

    The paper also shows how the  objectives of financial policy-makers—such as investor protection, transparency, maintaining the safety and soundness of financial firms, financial stability, tackling systemic risk, reducing information asymmetries, tacking market failures and developmental objectives— offer multiple avenues to legitimize policy measures that can contribute to the greening of the financial system. In particular,

  • 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

  • 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

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