Business / Economy

China's green financing system begins to take shape

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-09-02 17:25

BEIJING - China is moving full speed ahead to establish a green financing mechanism to support the economy's transition to sustainable growth.

To this end, guidelines on green finance, released earlier this week by the central bank and six other central authorities, contained a suite of innovative concepts, mapping out the future path for the country's green financing system.

The guidelines send a strong message -- the government has put its full weight behind green financing, according to Ma Jun, chief research economist at the central bank, in an article run by the People's Daily on Friday.

Ma estimates that the costs of cleaning up China's environment and meeting its commitment of achieving peak carbon emissions by around 2030 will amount to over 3 trillion yuan (around $450 billion) annually.

The central government can only provide 15 percent of that estimate, however, meaning alternate sources of funding must be found.

In the past, investors were hesitant about green projects due to the uncertain policy environment, financing difficulty and high interest rates associated with such projects.

"The guidelines will alleviate investors' concerns and, therefore, encourage more private investment into green projects," Ma said.

Among the multitude of incentives proposed to promote green finance, the guideline suggested the establishment of a national green development fund, a strong commitment by the central government to green development.

Green projects, especially new ones, are in dire need of equity financing rather than credit financing. The establishment of green development funds will help promote the development of equity financing, Ma said.

The guidelines also defined standards for green bonds, pledged support for qualified green firms to get listed and refinanced, and put in place a compulsory information disclosure system, regarding environmental issues.

China is the world's largest green bond market, with green bonds issued in the first half of the year worth 75 billion yuan, or 33 percent of the world's total.

Green bonds can ease financing demands for medium-and-long-term green projects as banks are limited in offering such services.

The government is also considering developing green insurance and environmental rights trading markets to enrich green financing tools. China pledged last year to launch a national carbon trading market in 2017 to offer financing tools for green firms.

The guidelines said stress tests will be introduced to banks to stem over-investment into high-polluting industries.

Meanwhile, as one of the world's three economies with a green credit index system, China will continue to enhance international cooperation in this field and steadily promote the two-way opening up of green bond markets, Ma said.

China has included green financing on the G20 agenda for the first time to mobilize more investment in environmentally friendly projects and build international consensus around green finance.

China's economy is undergoing a major structural transformation toward a new development model focused on achieving better quality growth that is more economically and environmentally sustainable, and achieves better social outcomes for the Chinese people.

The economy expanded 6.7 percent in the second quarter of the year, the lowest growth rate since the global financial crisis in early 2009 but still within the government's target range of 6.5-7 percent for 2016.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks