China aims to issue new guidance for green bonds
The new standard will govern future green bond issuance
CHINA is approaching a consensus for a green bond standard amid the country's robust issuance of the green bond that it uses to address environmental challenges and raise funds for infrastructure projects.
Wang Yao, deputy secretary-general for green finance committee at the China Society for Finance and Banking, and director of General International Institute of Green Finance, told the participants at The Asset 12th Asian Bond markets summit in Shanghai that "there will be one green guidance from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which will be the reference in the future," she says.
Wang notes that the volume of green bond issuance in China rose 7% in 2017 compared a year ago and that more countries were issuing green bonds, which she describes as a good thing.
She says it is tricky for the central government to give incentives for green bonds in the absence of clear definition of green, although local governments such as Shenzhen do offer incentives.
This comes as certain jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Singapore have announced plans for green bond grant schemes to demonstrate their commitment to promoting green finance.
Aldo Romani, deputy head of funding for euro at the European Investment Bank (EIB), says the EIB and the European Union are also in discussions to define the various aspects of green finance, "There is a need for a common language in green finance," he says.
But as Lan Hong, China chair of Greening the Belt and Road Initiative and vice director for research centre of ecological finance at Renmin University of China, points out, no matter whether a standard on green bonds exists or not, there is always a standard for environmental protection and going green is always a rational choice in terms of cost.
Lan says the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiatives are bringing more opportunities to raise more green financing through the bond market. She notes that OBOR countries have seen fast growth in infrastructure projects, mainly in gas and hydro as well as in forest projects. "When we talk about green bonds, we normally look at the underlying projects," she adds.
Zong Jun, chief business officer at China Central Depository and Clearing, notes that there has been an increasing awareness of investing in green bonds in China. But he argues that listed companies should be required to disclose green information when issuing any securities.