© Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK
Sustainable Finance
As main capital providers for companies and individuals, banks play a major role in furthering China’s economic objectives. Their investments affect the environment and local communities, both in China and overseas. They set the development path for generations ahead, so it is crucial that they promote sustainability.

WWF believes that China’s international capital flows can become a driving force in reducing the global ecological footprint. We encourage Chinese banks to adopt “green lending” policies for projects both in China and overseas.
Over the past decade, Chinese financial institutions have become key investors at home and abroad, providing loans to foreign governments and Chinese companies investing overseas. This trend is set to continue and even increase in the future. To address environmental and social effects of such investments, the Chinese government and leading financial institutions have begun to develop guidelines for responsible lending.

Our approach consists of:

• Working with Chinese regulators to develop investment guidelines in environmentally sensitive sectors.
• Partnering with Chinese banks to enhance their implementation of the "green lending” policies.
• Conducting studies on sustainable banking with leading Chinese and international institutions.
• Offering Chinese banks capacity building programmes on environmental and social risk management and low carbon economy.


China’s “green lending” policy is shaped by a series of laws and regulations issued since 2006 by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), the People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Environmental Protection (formerly State Environmental Protection Administration), and particularly the "Green Credit Guidelines" issued by CBRC on 24 February, 2012. They promote energy conservation, emission reduction, and the elimination of inefficient production through the allocation of loans and credit lines.

In addition to complying with these regulations, WWF recommends to
meet international green lending guidelines and best practices, such as
the “Equator Principles”, a set of environmental and social standards for project financing subscribed by 70 banks worldwide.

We also recommend voluntary sustainability criteria and certification systems in a number of industrial sectors, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).


3 OUT OF 10

In 2010, three among the top ten banks worldwide for market capitalization were Chinese.