International experts on green finance, including members of the G20 Green Finance Study Group, convened in Shanghai on September 6 to explore how countries can adopt the recommendations set forth by the G20 during the recent annual meeting in Hangzhou. The high-level green finance conference was sponsored by the Paulson Institute, the UN Environmental Programme, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and China’s Green Finance Committee.
The conference picked up on the work of the G20 meeting that convened the same week. At the G20 meeting, member countries for the first time reached consensus to develop a financial infrastructure that promotes investment in green development. At the green finance conference, Vice Chairman Yi Gang of the People’s Bank of China, responsible for implementing China’s agenda for green finance, highlighted elements of China’s ambitious “Guidelines for Establishing the Green Financial System,” issued during the G20 meetings. Issued by seven ministries, it provides a “comprehensive and systematic road map” that covers green bonds, green indices, green insurance, and the importance of development innovative public-private partnerships to stimulate green investment.
At the conference, attended by more than 200 international experts, the new head of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) gave a speech on the importance of creative and innovative thinking on how green finance can drive economic growth. UNEP and Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba, announced an agreement to cooperate to bring more people into the financial system and provide access to micro-loans, which can help stimulate green transactions. Ant Financial has the ability to conduct 86,000 transactions per second, making it one of the fastest “loan officers” in the world.
Deborah Lehr, senior fellow at the Paulson Institute, shared how policies are being turned into action through international cooperation. The Paulson Institute, in cooperation with China’s Office of the Leading Group for Economic and Financial Affairs, is acting as the non-commercial advisor to the Building Energy Efficiency and Green Development Fund. This public-private commercial fund will provide financing to bring U.S. technologies to bear in the fight against pollution in China. The intent is to drive change through advocacy for policies that attract private capital and create models of success.
While China has turned the Presidency of the G20 over to Germany, the focus on green finance will continue. The Paulson Institute will host a conference in Washington, DC, on October 7 with the UNEP, Sifma, the Toronto Institute and the International Institute for Finance during the Fall meetings of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank to discuss how to maintain the momentum on green finance, especially with the slowdown in global economic growth.