Climate action

  • The PBoC has used a range of tools, including targeted refinancing operations, to guide lending in support of the green transition.

  • The PBoC has accepted green bonds as collateral in its lending facilities.

  • The PBoC has carried out a climate-related stress test.

Climate inaction

  • China’s regulators have faced accusations of greenwashing, as ‘clean coal’ remains present in a framework used in the implementation and assessment of green finance practices.

  • Although the PBoC provides interest subsidies for green loan-supported projects, experts have argued these should be higher.

  • Measures previously used to penalise the financing of environmentally harmful activities have since been discontinued.

How the People’s Bank of China stacks up

Rank Country Aggregate Score (out of 130) Grade (A+ to F) Research and Advocacy (out of 10) Monetary Policy (out of 50) Financial Policy (out of 50) Leading by Example (out of 20)
3 ChinaChina 50 C 10 17 23 0

Central Bank/Supervisor

People's Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Committee

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Research & Advocacy

10 out of 10

High-impact

  • N/A

Medium-impact

  • PBoC is a member of NGFS

Low-impact

Monetary Policy

17 out of 50

High-impact

  • N/A

Medium-impact

  • Banks must offer reduced interest rates for loans to pollution control facilities, environmental protection and infrastructure, renewable energy, etc (referred to here)

  • PBoC’s Notice Regarding Promoting Credit Asset and Collateral in Central Bank Evaluation established green bonds, loans, and securities with an AA rating and above accepted as collateral in medium-term lending facility and green loans accepted as part of the standing lending facility (referred to here)

  • Interest rate provided to banks on required reserves may be increased if the bank is assessed to be greener in the PBoC’s macroprudential assessments (referred to here)

Low-impact

  • PBoC issued Notice on Issues Relating to Improving Environmental Protection in Credit Policy, which provided guidance for banks on “how to better include environmental variables in credit decisions” (referred to here)

  • PBoC is increasing the allocation of green bonds in the country’s foreign exchange reserves

Financial Policy

23 out of 50

High-impact

  • N/A

Medium-impact

  • Banks are required to incorporate environmental risks into risk management and governance processes (see, for example, 2012 Notice on Issuing Green Credit Guidelines, referred to here)

  • Banks are required to shift lending towards environmentally friendly projects (see, for example, 2007 “Opinions on Implementing Environmental Protection Policies and Rules and Preventing Credit Risks” and the 2012 “Notice on Green Credit Guidelines” referred to here)

  • Banks are required to shift lending away from unsustainable projects (see, for example, 2007 “Opinions on Implementing Environmental Protection Policies and Rules and Preventing Credit Risks” and the 2012 “Notice on Green Credit Guidelines” referred to here – points temporarily suspended due to China’s current domestic credit guidance towards coal production)

  • Mandatory climate risk disclosure for all financial firms (formal commitment – referred to here)

  • Lower risk weights for green assets (under discussion – referred to here)

Low-impact

  • CBRC issued Opinions on Energy Efficiency and Emission Reductions in Credit Extension, which provided “specific guidance on how banks can contribute to national environmental goals” (referred to here)

  • CBRC’s Notice of Submission of Green Credit Statistics requires that the 21 main banks report green credit statistics (referred to here)

  • CBRC Notice of the Key Performance Indicators of Green Credit Implementation, which established “quantitative and qualitative indicators for assessing performance” (referred to here)

  • CBIRC issued guidelines on incorporating ESG requirements into the entire credit granting process (referred to here)

  • CBIRC is encouraging banks to set up green finance divisions and branches and develop green financial products (referred to here)

  • CBIRC issued guidelines on ESG-related information disclosure, reporting and interaction with stakeholders (referred to here)

  • CBIRC issued guidelines on environmental risk management systems (referred to here)
    Inclusion of green bonds in the Green Finance Evaluation Plan, which will assess the share of green bonds in financial institutions’ total assets

  • PBoC has said it will “not build coal-fired power plants abroad” (as the statement was vague and details are yet to be provided, this is a ‘low impact’ policy)

Leading by Example

0 out of 20

High-impact

  • N/A

Medium-impact

  • N/A

Low-impact

  • PBoC, CSRC, NDRC announced updated green bond guidelines which exclude ‘clean coal’ (referred to here), but the Green Industry Guidance Catalogue still includes ‘clean utilisation of coal’

  • PBoC is also working with Europe on a joint taxonomy (referred to here)

What steps are missing in the People’s Bank of China toolbox to address climate risk?

Civil society expects the bank to do the following:

  • Wind down its support for fossil fuels, particularly coal power plants.

  • Raise the interest subsidies it provides for green loan-supported projects.

  • Remove ‘clean coal’ from its sustainable finance taxonomy.

  • Bring about improvements in the quality and consistency of corporate climate disclosures.