ADB-Supported ‘Green Financing Platform’ Launched for Better Air Quality in Greater Beijing Area
BEIJING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (16 June 2017) – The Green Financing Platform (GFP) supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was launched today by the China National Investment and Guaranty Corporation (I&G) to promote air pollution-reduction investments in the greater Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH). The launching ceremony was also joined by the State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC), Ministry of Finance, and the National Development and Reform Commission.
“Expanding competitive financing particularly to small- and medium-sized enterprises [SMEs] in all polluting sectors is crucial to translate policies and regulations for better air quality into sustainable results on the ground,” said Ayumi Konishi, Director General of ADB’s East Asia Department. “The reality is, even though SMEs realize the need to invest in cleaner production facilities, they often do not have access to finance.”
Poor air quality is considered to be contributing to about 1 million premature deaths annually in the PRC, and costing the economy about 7.5% of gross domestic product. The PRC government has made some progress in addressing the problem in the recent years particularly by introducing new policy, new air quality standards and a nationwide action plan. However, the impact is still limited because the BTH region relies heavily on coal, and is home to a high concentration of pollution-intensive industries and huge number of polluting vehicles. In addition, while 60% of industrial pollution comes from SMEs, many of them lack the experience to tackle pollution and access to finance to switch to cleaner processes.
The state-owned I&G was selected by the government to develop an appropriate facility, and ADB approved a loan of €458 million ($499.6 million) in December 2016 to help I&G set up GFP, which is expected to also leverage €3.6 billion equivalent in domestic commercial financing. With credit enhancement measures, GFP will help SMEs to have easier access to loans from commercial banks. SDIC, the controlling state-owned enterprise of I&G, will provide oversight to the implementation of GFP.
The establishment of GFP is the second part of envisaged multiyear ADB support to improve air quality in the BTH region. ADB approved a first ever policy-based loan for the PRC in December 2015 as the first support in this regard, and successfully implemented it in 2016.
To address the complex challenge of air quality improvement in this vast region, the PRC government and ADB agreed on a lending program of about $500 million per year for 2016-2020. The ADB assistance over this period will focus on strengthening policies and regulatory frameworks, developing financing facilities to unlock investment in areas of need, and leapfrogging technologies in key sectors.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. ADB marked 50 years of development partnership in Asia in December 2016. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance to the Asia-Pacific region totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.