Building on existing responsible finance initiatives, the Green Investment Principles aim to incorporate low-carbon and sustainable development into projects in Belt and Road countries, which represent approximately 40% of the earth’s total land area and 55% of total CO2 emissions. UK headquartered bank Standard Chartered was the first to sign up to the voluntary code of conduct.
The announcement was made at an event held in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on the sidelines of this year’s Belt and Road Forum. Key speakers included City Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness and Chairman of the Green Finance Committee Dr Ma Jun.
The principles, a project first proposed in the 9th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue, were drafted by a number of organisations including the World Economic Forum, UNPRI, Belt & Road Bankers Roundtable and the Paulson Institute.
First published in London by the GFI and GFC late last year, the principles are supported financially by the UK government through the China-UK PACT programme (Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions). This funding aims to bolster robust implementation and governance of the principles, and support signatories to share their knowledge and collectively raise their ambition over time, drawing on the UK’s green finance expertise and leadership.
City of London Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness said:
These principles are the start of a journey to green the Belt and Road, providing a framework for how firms and organisations can incorporate low-carbon and sustainable development into BRI projects. I’m delighted to see so many firms sign up to the guidelines, and hope many others will decide to come on board.
While there is some way to go to ensuring the Belt and Road is truly green, today’s announcement is another step in the right direction, and a powerful statement of intent from financial firms in China, the UK and across the world.
I look forward to conversations going forward on how the UK can work with our Chinese and international partners to ensure the ‘project of the century’ is sustainable and environmentally friendly, and to seeing these principles evolve over time.
Dr Ma Jun, Chairman of China Green Finance Committee said:
The majority of global infrastructure investment in the coming decades will be in the Belt and Road region and they will have a significant impact on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The aim of the GIP is to ensure that environmental friendliness, climate resilience, and social inclusiveness are built into new investment projects in the Belt and Road.
The GIP has already received strong support from many global financial institutions, and we expect more lenders, investors and nonfinancial corporates to sign up to it.
Bill Winters CBE, CEO at Standard Chartered said:
We have been supporting our clients in managing their environmental and social risks for decades.
We are committed to working with all parties to implement the Green Investment Principles and contribute to commerce and prosperity across the Belt and Road markets.
More details of the Principles are expected to be announced later this year at the City of London Corporation’s Green Finance Summit.
The Summit will see the launch of the new Green Finance Institute, a collaboration between the City of London, environmental finance specialists and UK Government which will provide global leadership on the future of green finance.
The development follows the creation of a UK-China Green Finance Centre last year to lead on much of the work of the long-established UK-China Green Finance Taskforce outlined at the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue in December 2017.
The last meeting of the UK-China Green Finance Taskforce took place in London in November 2018, where a progress report and recommendations were produced.
London is rated as the top global financial hub for the quality of its green finance offering in the latest Green Global Finance Index, published by Long Finance in March 2019.
Notes to editors
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
UK PACT is part of wider UK Government spending on International Climate Finance. As part of the Paris agreement, the UK has committed with other countries to mobilise $100bn of climate finance a year by 2020. The UK has committed £5.8bn International Climate Finance for 2016-2021, and of this, £60m has been allocated to UK PACT.