Time for Green Quantitative Easing

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

  • 4th Update Report: The Coming Financial Climate

    Date: 07-May-2015

    This is the 4th Update Report of the UNEP Inquiry, it is focused on the challenge of financing the low-carbon transition. Many approaches and instruments will be needed to deliver the financing needed. Public finance, funded by tax revenues and international transfers, will provide part of the solution.  However such finance will be inadequate. Private

  • The Role of Policy-Driven Institutions

    Date: 24-Aug-2015

    A variety of interventions can be used to develop national financial systems and provide local access to affordable, long-term finance. This paper considers four key categories of actions: voluntary action; priority sector lending; regulatory or financial incentives as well as direct lending by policy-driven financial institutions. It particularly focuses on the role of policy-driven institutions such

  • 3rd Update Report: Pathways to Scale

    Date: 07-Jan-2015

    This is the 3rd Update Report of the UNEP Inquiry, it is focused on the challenge of financing the low-carbon transition. It explores how innovative ideas and practices can be made more effective, adopted more widely, and taken to scale—and as a result move the trillions that are required. Scaling-up proven but limited innovations, is a common

  • 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 Funds

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    This paper sets out the case for promoting the development of green industry funds as public-private partnerships (PPPs) to use limited government funding to leverage private capital into green sectors. It is envisaged that green industry funds will serve as the platform through which private capital can converge into professionally managed green investments with government as one investment

  • 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

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