Banktrack has released an interesting report on the environmental performance standards of China’s financial institutions. The report recognises the need for policies to be put in place, as China’s financial institutions are becoming important players in financing environmentally and socially sensitive activities around the world.
The report found that:
Only two of China’s ten most important banks — China Development Bank (CDB) and the Export-Import Bank of China (Chexim) — have publicly-disclosed environmental policies… … The rest of the eight banks surveyed had no publicly-available environmental financing standards.
There are also some encouraging sign that suggest progress is being made:
The Peoples’ Bank of China has recently developed a new credit database which includes borrowers’ environmental compliance data. This will allow Chinese banks to evaluate how well companies have followed environmental laws before offering loans.
The report also claims that many international banks, who own significant shares of Chinese banks, have the ability to institute world-class environmental standards through their strategic investment agreements. This is another example of the growing environmental demands being placed on international banks, and there needs to be careful consideration as to whether the demands are reasonable and if there is genuine scope for influence.