Chinese finance platform fights air pollution

A green financing platform has been launched to improve air quality in the greater Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region. The China National Investment and Guaranty Corporation’s (I&G) scheme is supported by an Asian […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

A green financing platform has been launched to improve air quality in the greater Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region.

The China National Investment and Guaranty Corporation’s (I&G) scheme is supported by an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan of €458 million (£402m).

Around one million premature deaths are believed to be caused by poor air quality each year across China and the problem costs the economy nearly 7.5% of gross domestic product.

The ADB says the BTH region relies heavily on coal power and is home to many carbon intensive industries and a huge number of polluting vehicles.

It also suggests while 60% of industrial pollution comes from small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), many of these companies lack the know-how and access to finance needed to switch to cleaner processes.

The scheme will use credit enhancement measures to help SMEs get easier access to loans from commercial banks, a move expected to leverage around €3.6 billion (£3.16bn) in domestic financing.

Continuing with about $500 million (£438.9m) of investment per year up to 2020, the platform will also focus on strengthening policies and regulations, developing financing facilities and developing new technologies.

Ayumi Konishi, Director General of ADB’s East Asia Department, said: “Expanding competitive financing particularly to SMEs in all polluting sectors is crucial to translate policies and regulations for better air quality into sustainable results on the ground.

“The reality is, even though SMEs realise the need to invest in cleaner production facilities, they often do not have access to finance.”