Dear colleagues and friends,

It is the time of the year to express our appreciations.

The year 2020 has no doubt brought before us tremendous challenges. Nonetheless, with your continual support and guidance, IIGF has reached many milestones. We would like to use this opportunity to highlight some of our work and achievements in 2020, and to inform you of what is to come in the next year.

As we turn the final pages to the year of the Rat, we once again thank you for your association and trust. We wish you and your family peace, prosperity and good health, and we look forward to continuing our work together in this new year of the Ox!

Happy Chinese New Year! 新春快乐!

Prof. Yao WANG

Director General of IIGF

1. 2020 was a year of growth

2020 has witnessed the continuous growth of the International Institute of Green Finance (IIGF). Within 4 years, our team has expanded from less than 15 members to   40 full-time researchers and 16 external consultant researchers. Our research focus now includes green finance, climate finance, energy finance, green bond, ESG, healthcare finance, green Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), green trading, international cooperation, etc.

This year, we established the Greater Bay Area Green Finance Research Center in Guangzhou. Together with the Institute of Green Investment in Hangzhou, our team covers China’s major economic zones, including Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta, and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao regions.

2. Fruitful research outcomes

Academic research is our core strength. In 2020, IIGF published five academic monographs and released 15 research reports on ESG, climate finance, green bonds, and green BRI. We also published 338 opinion pieces covering different topics in green finance.

Five Academic Monographs:

  • 2020 Progress Report on China’s Green Finance
  • Report on the Development of China Green Bond Market 2020
  • Research Report on China’s Energy Finance 2020-The Development of Investment and Financing of the PV industry in China
  • Sustainability Analysis of Chinese listed banks
  • Technical Report on SDG Finance Taxonomy (China) [2020 edition] (Cooperation with UNDP)

Fifteen Reports:

3. Driving changes through policy recommendations

Much of our research results from 2020 have been applied by practitioners. The Huzhou branch of the Industrial Bank of China has drawn on IIGF’s methodology to release China’s first environmental stress testing report in the sector of green buildings. We developed the first Green commercial paper verification system supported by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) Nanchang Central Sub-branch.

As a think tank, IIGF strives to offer policy recommendations to support national and local governments’ decision-making processes. Together with WRI, CBI, WWF and other partners, we submitted a baseline report on Green Development Guidance for BRI Projects to the Ministry of Ecology. In 2020, we submitted various policy recommendations based on the latest studies on green finance policies, the out-break warning and detection system, ecological products, green commercial paper, small and medium-sized private enterprises financing, etc. A number of the suggestions are adopted by the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, Local Financial Regulatory Bureau of Zhejiang, The PBoC Nanchang Central Sub-branch, Jiangxi Fuzhou Government etc.

As a third-party independent opinion provider, IIGF supports the reviewing process of the government documents. In 2020, the Opinions on the Financial Support to the Construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), written by the Director General of IIGF, Yao WANG, and the Vice Director of IIGF Qian WANG, was submitted to the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. The opinion was discussed in the executive meeting and later adopted. Furthermore, our Director General, Yao WANG, won the 2020 Annual Special Award of Policy Recommendations from the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese. 

4. Ongoing cooperation with our international partners

IIGF works closely with various partners, including the UNDP, the World Bank Group, the IEA, the OECD, the UK Government, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the AFD, the ADB, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the World Resources Institute(WRI), KR Foundation, Energy Foundation, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), Deutsche Börse Group, ING, Oxford University, Stanford University and Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment, etc

In 2020, IIGF partnered with UNDP China to develop and launch the SDG Finance Taxonomy (China), and cooperated with IEA to launch the World Energy Investment 2020. Together with the Deutsche Börse Group, we hosted Sino-Europe Green Finance Summit. Supported by KR Foundation and NRDC, we kicked off our Fossil Fuel SOE low carbon transitions project. Moreover, we translated the World Bank’s report titled State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2020, and co-authored a blog to promote it. In addition, we supported the research work at a British think-tank, Z/Yen, by contributing the Chinese Chapter at the Global Finance Index [Fifth Edition].

5. Expanding our presence

In 2020, IIGF continued to host the annual event of the Green Finance Committee, China Society for Finance and Banking, which started in 2017. Similarly, we have organized the annual event of the IIGF for four years.

This year, we promoted the Green Finance Youth Research Competition globally, receiving 101 applications from 105 universities, 10 different countries and regions. IIFG also launched events, seminars, and workshops with different partners, aiming to enhance the exchange of international green finance knowledge and practices as well as accelerate green finance development in China. Next year in 2021, IIGF will host the fourth GRASFI annual event. IIGF, along with other 25 member universities, warmly welcome your participation!  

6. Contributing to capability building

In 2020, IIGF continued our efforts in green finance capabilities building for governments, financial institutions, students, and other stakeholders.

This year, under the support of UK Government’s China Prosperity Fund, we partnered with Oxford University and kicked off the project to develop a stranded asset evaluation tool for BRI countries. IIGF also collaborated with Deutsche Börse Group, Xinhua News China Economic Information Service, Wind Information and Technology Group to explore academic research applications. One example is the ESG Green Investment Guide Service Tool, which won the International Finance Forum (IFF) 2020 Global Green Finance Innovation Award. In addition, we launched an online “after – work Café” for professionals to learn about green finance through the Xiaoe-tech and Wechat platforms. The Café has hosted over 20 lectures. More than 50,000 people have visited it. Together with other research institutes in China, we organized green finance series lectures and ESG training for Chinese local financial practitioners, which attracted 5 million participants. Moreover, we supported the GIZ EMSD in developing a sustainable finance curriculum for university students around the globe.  The curriculum has been carried out in Mexico. After three successful road-show courses in China, we welcome the initiative to be fully piloted in China at CUFE in the following year.


Practical Application

IIGF focuses on the practice of scientific research results in green finance-related fields and explores methods that can transform scientific research results into creative financial products.. IIGF realizes the innovative value of academic research results and provides practical research services for enterprises and financial institutions, etc. IIGF also continuously contributes to improving the interest parties’ governance and investment capability. Currently, the research team of IIGF has compiled and released several indices based on the independently developed ESG indicator system. For instance, the “CSI CUFE SH-SZ 100 ESG leading index”, “CSI 300 Green Leading Stock Index”, “CUFE-CNI SZ-HK Connect Green Selection Index”, SINA “Beautiful China ESG 100 Stock Index”, JD Digital “ESG Industry Series Index”, “CUFE-SZRCB Suzhou Green Development Index”, and “CUFE-Suzhou Yangtze River Delta Integrated Green Development Bond Index”. These ESG indices are aimed to provide standards and guidelines for the company’s ESG level measurement. Meanwhile, the ESG database resources can largely support companies in two more ways. On the Firstly, it can further improve the company’s governance level by generating more targeted suggestions. Secondly, IIGF Database can assist fund companies to develop related ESG financial products. Additionally, the green finance business management system of commercial banks which involves green credit intelligent methods and ESG concepts could effectively improve the commercial bank’s green financial management capabilities.

Database Construction

While conducting in-depth research on green finance-related fields, IIGF also focuses on data collection and analysis. IIGF has established a number of leading domestic databases with wide coverage, rich content, and a large time span to further promote green finance development. Among them, the IIGF ESG database is the largest online ESG database developed by an academic research team using independent methodologies. It has the only ESG rating database for Chinese bond entities worldwide up until now, which covers ESG data for more than 4,000 Chinese companies. Besides, IIGF has the complete domestic labeled green bond database, which also uniquely tracks the non-labeled green bond market with a large volume and diverse varieties. Additionally, an international IIGF green bond database is also under construction and improvement. Besides, Our databases of local green finance, energy finance, B&R, health finance, have been completed and are currently providing data support for professional research and policy formulation.

ESG Credit Model

IIGF has es tablished the ESG credit model which is aimed to break through the issue of current credit rating modes that only focus on creditability without the consideration of credit quality. The ESG credit model contains three types of evaluation indicators: credit-environment, credit-ability, andcredit-quality. Specifically, the credit-environment measures the macroeconomic situation; the credit-ability measures the company’s financial performance; and credit-quality measures the company’s ESG level. The ESG credit model covers a total of 3 first-level indicators, 13 second-level indicators, and 77 third-level indicators. The ESG credit model can more accurately predict the corporate bonds’ default risk by combining ESG with traditional credit indicators, which is of great significance.

ESG Evaluation System

IIGF has been committed to the research of Chinese ESG localization. In 2017, on the basis of the Green evaluation system, IIGF independently developed the “ESG evaluation system” in line with Chinese characteristics. It involves qualitative and uantitative indicators of Environmental Protection, Social Responsibility, and Corporate Governance, as well as the company’s Negative behaviors and risks in order to comprehensively measure corporate ESG levels. The indicator system includes 3 first-level indicators, 22 second-level indicators, and more than 200 third-level indicators. There occurs mainly three key characteristics of The IIGF Evaluation System has (or contains) three key characteristics that set it apart from more traditional systems of evaluation. Firstly, it is specially designed and localized in China, which could truly reflect Chinese characteristics. Secondly, the ESG indicators both include qualitative and quantitative indicators in the three dimensions of Environmental, Social, and Governance. Besides, the IIGF ESG evaluation system emphasizes the listed company’s negative behaviors and risks to comprehensively evaluate the responding ESG performance.

Green Evaluation System

IIGF has independently developed a comprehensive and innovative “Green Evaluation System” to measure the green level of listed companies. The system includes qualitative indicators, quantitative indicators, and negative environmental protection behaviors. The “Green Evaluation System” has three major characteristics. Firstly, the indicator system involves both qualitative and quantitative indicators. Secondly, the indicator system emphasizes the company’s negative environmental protection behaviors. Thirdly, the evaluation system deducts ESG scores for companies within the “Two-Highs and One-Surplus” industries.

Team Leader-Zheng Li

Zheng Li

Zheng Li, Research Fellow at the IIGF, master of Environmental Governance of the University of Manchester. His main research fields are Green Industry and Green Transformation of Bank. He has participated in a series of projects on green industry development planning of multiple ministries and local governments, and familiar with the connection between green finance and green industry. He has also participated in green finance projects of Bank of Jiujiang, Bank of Jiangsu, Guangdong Huaxing Bank, etc.

Team Leader-Christoph Nedopil Wang

Christoph Nedopil Wang

Dr. Christoph Nedopil Wang is the Director of the Green Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Senior Research Fellow. Christoph holds a master’s degree in engineering from the Technical University Berlin, a master’s of public administration from Harvard Kennedy School as well as a Ph.D. in Economics. He has extensive experience in sustainability, innovation, infrastructure and transport having worked for the International Finance Corporation(IFC)for almost 10 years and being a Director for the Sino-German Sustainable Transport Project with the German Cooperation Agency GIZ in Beijing. He is the author of several articles and books, such as IFC’s “Navigating through Crises” or “Corporate Governance – Handbook for Board Directors”. Christoph is interested in innovative solution to tackle climate change and environmental protection.

Team Leader-Zhan Yan

Zhan Yan

Zhan Yan is a Research Fellow at the IIGF and the Executive Director of the Yangtze River Delta Green Investment Institute. He has more than 15 years of experience in credit management of state-owned financial institutes and private equity investment funds. He has designed industrial funds and syndicated loans for provincial green projects, such as the Jin-Yi-Dong Rail Transit and the Huake New Energy Vehicle Production Base. He has consulted more than 2,000 enterprises and managed more than 50 billion Renminbi of credit assets. He is familiar with many financial instruments in direct and indirect financing and has rich experience in credit analysis and evaluation. He was hired as the Executive Deputy of Jinhua Banking Association Syndicated Loan Professional Committee, and he was a member of the Yongkang Municipal Government Industrial Fund Investment Decision Committee.

Team Leader-Mathias Lund Larsen

Mathias Lund Larsen

Mathias Lund Larsen is the Director of International Cooperation at IIGF, as well as a Research Fellow at CUFE. He is specialized in the role of the private sector in sustainable development, having worked for UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya and the UN Global Compact in New York, USA. His research focuses on relations between Chinese and international green finance, including within bonds, climate finance flows, and multilateral development bank cooperation. Holding four master’s degrees, he has completed a double master in international business & politics and CEMS international management from Copenhagen Business School, Warsaw School of Economics, and Rotterdam School of Management, as well as a double master in international development and international relations from Sciences Po Paris and Peking University. He has written several publications for the UN and is fluent in English and Chinese.