WRI worked with key representatives of Chinese institutions and other stakeholders to craft recommendations on how China’s financial system could support robust, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable growth. The work contributed to broader efforts to support comprehensive financial reforms, resulting in "China’s Guidelines for Establishing the Green Financial System".

The Challenge

China’s sustained economic growth over the past three decades has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, but it has come at significant cost to the environment. The nation’s current environmental challenges can only be addressed by shifting investment toward economic activities that contribute to greener growth. The Chinese government was one of the first to recognize that, in addition to regulatory and public spending measures, this requires reform of the financial system, so that funds are allocated toward environmentally-sound investment.

WRI’s Role

WRI’s President, Andrew Steer, was invited by the Chinese government to co-chair the Green Finance Task Force of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), set up to provide policy recommendations to the government on green financial reform and transformation. Members included senior representatives from the People’s Bank of China, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Renmin University. WRI also invited global experts on financial reform to join the Task Force, including from the OECD, the World Bank, the Climate Policy Initiative, and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System. This work built upon and complemented work by the People’s Bank of China, the UNEP Inquiry, and others.

WRI worked with Green Finance Task Force members and its co-chair, the former president of Renmin University, to write the CCICED report, which recommended a system-wide approach to green financial reform, including specific recommendations on green bonds, environmental disclosure and liability, lending targets, stock market rules, and policies to ensure high standards for overseas investment. CCICED delivered the recommendations to the Vice Premier of China.

The Outcome

In August 2016, seven Chinese ministries jointly released Guidelines for Establishing the Green Financial System – the world’s first systematic roadmap pushing reform across all segments of a country’s financial and environmental governance systems. These shifts will benefit public agencies and companies that aim to introduce low-carbon development plans and projects, ultimately offering substantial benefits to the general public and providing a practical example to other nations.