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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


December 2017 – A landmark agreement amongst Chinese stakeholders to form a pre-competitive, industry level platform for green trade finance in China was made at a high level summit convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI). China has the largest trading volumes in the world, as well as being a major importer of commodities produced around the world. Commitments to green trade finance made at this summit have the potential to trigger change of global significance.

The announcement was made at a high level meeting of major influencers in China’s finance sector to help deliver progress towards green trade finance, exploring how to manage environmental risks and seize new opportunities for environmentally responsible commodity production.

The summit builds on existing progress by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) through schemes including the ‘Green Credit Guidelines’, designed to re-orientate  domestic lending activities of Chinese banks away from high-polluting companies and projects, and China’s Belt & Road Initiative, which aims to use China’s influence as a globally significant economy to boost trade and development across emerging and developing markets.  Government agencies attending the summit stressed the political importance of sustainable development to China’s Belt & Road Initiative, noting that a failure to combine trading partners’ development needs with strong measures to reverse environmental degradation pose a significant threat to China’s long term prosperity.

CISL was invited by the Chinese banking regulator – the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) – to convene the summit with Beijing’s Central University for Finance and Economics. The summit brought together finance executives from the four major Chinese banks, regional and international banks, as well as representatives of some of the largest commodity importing firms in China, NGO and industry association representatives and senior directors of both the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the CBRC.

CISL and members of the BEI shared their experiences of putting green trade finance into practice, drawing on CISL’s role as Knowledge Partner to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Banking Commission and its new Sustainable Trade Finance Working Group, and recent developments in using fintech to enable sustainable trade finance.

The summit concluded with a landmark agreement amongst Chinese stakeholders to form a pre-competitive, industry level platform for green trade finance in China. This will be followed up with a series of high profile industry engagement events in 2018.

CISL and BEI members look forward to maintaining their active engagement and support in this important area of development.