China Releases 2021 Edition of Green Bonds Support Catalogue


China’s top financial and economic regulators have issued the latest version of the country’s green bonds support catalogue, amidst a broad push to expand Chinese green finance and meet ambitious carbon mitigation targets.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) have just jointly issued the “Green Bond Support Catalogue (2021 Annual Edition)” (绿色债券支持项目目录(2021年版)).

According to regulators the catalogue will serve as a “specialised catalogue list for demarcating and screening green projects and green sectors that warrant various forms of green bond support.”

The new catalogue will no longer include clean fossil fuel projects within the scope of support, while also adopting the principle of “no major harm” in order to achieve strict curbs on carbon emissions.

The catalogue also seeks to achieve consistency between its tier 2 and tier 3 sub-catalogues and international green asset standards, in order to help overseas investors to better vet and scrutinise investment projects.

Green agriculture, sustainable building and water economisation categories have been added to the tier 2 and tier-3 sub-catalogues, in order to expand applicable spheres for green bonds.

“The release of the 2021 Green Bond Catalogue will enable China’s green bonds to focus more on green low-carbon development strategies, better serve China’s green financial development, and drive international cooperation in the sphere of green finance,” said PBOC official to state-owned media.

Beijing is pushing hard for the growth of green financing, after setting the ambitious emissions targets in 2020 of achieving peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. 

The Chinese central bank made green financing a key work mission for 2021 as well as the 14th Five Year Period that runs from 2021 to 2025.

As of the end of 2020 a total of 21 major banks in China had a combined green loan balance in excess of 11 trillion yuan. 

Central bank data further indicates that as of the end of 2020 China was second in the world in terms of outstanding green bonds, at more than 800 billion yuan.