Driving a Green Economy Through Public Finance and Fiscal Policy Reform

Policy Lever: Harnessing Public Balance Sheets

Goverments are using their public balance sheets to provide fiscal incentives, risk guarantees or public investment in ways that improve the risk adjusted returns of green investment and seek to 'crowd-in' private investors.  Incentivizing sustainable finance through the use of the public balance sheet has been a feature in every country reviewed by the Inquiry.

Examples

Steps that can be taken to develop new green investment incentives, or to align existing incentives to sustainable development include: 
  • Target fiscal support: Establishing and optimising fiscal incentives to mobilize private capital for green investment.
  • Review fiscal incentives: Reviewing the alignment of existing fiscal incentives for savings, investment, lending and insurance with sustainability.
  • Sustainability mandates of public financial institutions: Strengthening sustainability as part of the mission and operation of development finance institutions and sovereign wealth funds.
  • Establish new green institutions: Launching new green investment banks and funds.
  • Blended finance instruments: Developing and using financial instruments designed to share risks and overcome barriers to private investment (such as through risk underwriting & results based financing).
  • Central banks refinancing operations: Extending refinancing operations to include green assets.
  • Central bank asset purchase programmes: Incorporating sustainability factors into asset purchase programmes.
  • Public procurement criteria: Introducing sustainable development performance into procurement of financial services by the public sector.

 Impacts

These measures are widely adopted and can be effective, but the scale of new funding available is limited. Nevertheless the financial system is already the recipient of, and conduit for, significant public financial support, which has the potential to be aligned to sustainable development.      

Inquiry Publications

  • Central Banks Can and Should Do Their Part in Funding Sustainability

    Date: 10-Jun-2014

    In this paper Andrew Sheng argues that central banks, when purchasing financial assets, should consider selecting assets that will promote sustainability, including climate change mitigation and adaptation. Social impact investing he argues is consistent with a central bank’s mandate to maintain price stability. They could incentivize bankers and asset managers to invest in, or lend to, climate mitigation activities and low-emission

  • Making the Jump

    Date: 29-Feb-2016

    This paper outlines the dynamics behind the financial regulatory paradigm shift that began in 2008-2009. It seeks to identify parallels with and differences from the slower moving, even more consequential, global climate change crisis, and the fitful, still under way, policy paradigm shift that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other stakeholders are trying

  • 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

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Development Banks

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    China is supporting investment in developing countries through the BRICS Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Invesment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. It aims to draw upon the experiences and rules of other multilateral development agencies to ensure that this financing  encourages environmentally and socially responsible investment. The paper offers some recommendations on how the BRICS Development Bank, the AIIB and the

  • 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: Discounted Green Loans

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    This paper argues that discounted interest rates for green loans can be  an effective means to use limited public subsidy to stimulate private investments equalling several times the amount of seed fund provided by the government. It recommends that China: Expland the use of discounted greend loans for energy conservation and environmental protection projects. Sreamline and

  • 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: International Experience

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    The Green Finance Taskforce was convened in 2014 by the People’s Bank of China and the UNEP Inquiry. The Taskforce brought together leading Chinese experts on financial markets, policy and regulation from government, academia and from the private sector together with international experts and practitioners. One of the inputs to the deliberations of the Taskforce

  • 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: Green Bonds

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    Green bonds provide a potential source of long-term funding for green loans which reduces the risk of maturity mismatch. This paper recommends that China should commence the pilot issuance of green bonds at the earliest possible date to support the green lending business of banks. Specific recommendations are: Create a clear standard to define the scope of investment

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