China-EU Green Economic Cooperation and Development Summit
Luxembourg and Brussels, 9th July 2021: The China-EU Green Economic Cooperation and Development Summit, jointly organised by Bank of China, Luxembourg Stock Exchange, and the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU, was successfully held online on Thursday 8th July. The Summit included keynote speeches, high level expert insights, an executive panel discussion, and the launch of the Green Action Initiative.
This Summit successfully addressed the topic of Green finance and its importance for achieving the goal of carbon neutrality and sustainable development, following the joint push by the EU and China on greater convergence of taxonomies for green finance and investments to build a greener global economy. More than 900 participants from both China and Europe attended this high level event.
The forum was composed of four Parts, moderated by Mr. Robert Madelin, Chairman of FIPRA International Ltd. In the first Part, China’s and the EU’s latest developments in tackling climate change and the prospects of China-EU green cooperation were discussed by esteemed keynote speeches: Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council and Former Prime Minister of Belgium; Mr. Liu Jin, President of Bank of China; Mr. Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance of Luxembourg; Mr. Wang Hongjian, Minister at the Chinese Mission to the European Union; Mr. Ricardo Mourinho Félix, Vice President of the European Investment Bank; and Mr. Li Gao, Director General of the Department of Climate Change at the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
“Climate and energy policies are profoundly changing our economies and our way of life in the cities in particular”, said Mr. Herman Van Rompuy in his keynote speech. “The EU is ready to cooperate with China on climate in the name of the common human interest that transcends all national interests. It has increased its 2030 emissions target from -40% to -55% compared to 1990 levels. In 2020, we more than achieved our -20% target. Our massive economic recovery programme dedicates almost 40% to the climate.” Speaking about CAI, Mr. Van Rompuy said that “the China-EU investment agreement sooner or later has to be taken out of the freezer, as it is a key element for a restart of the EU-China relationship. Here, too, trust has to be restored.” Finally, Mr. Van Rompuy also added that “he International Platform on Sustainable Finance is at the heart of a global green financial response with China and EU as its founding members. Collectively, it represents around half of the world’s economy, population and CO2 emissions. The ultimate objective is to scale up the mobilisation of private capital towards environmentally sustainable investments. The IPSF therefore offers a multilateral forum of dialogue between policymakers that are in charge of developing sustainable finance regulatory measures to help investors identify and seize sustainable investment opportunities that truly contribute to climate and environmental objectives. Therefore promoting integrated markets for environmentally sustainable finance is key in order to mobilise international investors.”
Mr. Liu Jin, President of Bank of China, added that in order to help translate the EU’s and China’s complementary leverages in green economy into a promising future, there should be a focus on three priorities. “First, we should provide more financing to sectors that are key to low-carbon transition. Second, we should gather pace in carbon finance innovation and increase the connectivity between carbon markets in China and Europe. Third, we need to join our strengths to set green finance rules for more effective global green governance. As a major facilitator for business and trade exchanges between China and Europe, Bank of China places green finance high on our agenda and aims to be a first-choice bank for green financial services”.
In agreement with Mr. Van Rompuy and Mr. Liu Jin, Luxembourg’s Finance Minister, Mr. Pierre Gramegna, stated that, "the European Union will build forward better focusing on the dual transition: climate and green transition on one hand, and digital transition on the other hand”. Mr. Gramegna also emphasized in his speech three aspects that are key for sustainable finance: “one, multilateral action, it is the enabler that will help us have sustainable finance.
Two, the importance of regulatory frameworks and building bridges between different standards, with common rules, a level playing field in terms of what is green, what is sustainable and what is ESG, in order to avoid two risks; green washing on one hand, and the issue of the stranded assets and financial stability on the other. One could say that China and Europe are far advanced in this taxonomy area and I hope that a conference like this one can help bring the two frameworks closer together, and you can count on Luxembourg to help achieve that. Three, the importance of public private partnership to finance the transition towards a greener and more sustainable global economy. On top of green and digital transition, we thus also need to do a finance transition, this is the third pillar of the strategy of the European Union, because we need to green finance, and we need to finance green projects, and we must make sure banks and financial players can ensure a smooth shift in portfolios and reduce financial stability risks, and make sure that more and more investments flow into green projects”.
“China's future goal is to harmonise environmental protection with economic and social development and to achieve a green transformation and high-quality development by working towards peak emissions and carbon neutrality”, said Mr. Wang Hongjian, Minister at the China Mission to the EU. “China and Europe should cooperate on green development in an open and respectful manner, especially in the current post-epidemic era, and should show their respective responsibilities to strengthen in-depth cooperation and create more ideas and projects, thus giving more experience for countries at different stages of development to learn from and bringing more confidence to the global response to green development.”.
The second part of the Summit consisted of insights presented by high-level experts: Mr. Ma Jun, Chairman of China Green Finance Committee Founder and President of Beijing Institute of Finance and Sustainability, and Co-chair of the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group; Ms. Julie Becker, CEO of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange; and Prof. Dong Zhiyong, Dean of the School of Economics of Peking University. The three experts focused their presentations on the development directions and on the key areas of China-EU cooperation on green finance.
According to Mr. Ma Jun, “on the international cooperation side, under the International Platform on Sustainable Finance, a working group was set up last year, to improve the consistency of taxonomies, and this working group is now working towards a common ground taxonomy, based on the Chinese taxonomy and the European taxonomy, so that in the future once the common ground taxonomy is ready, it can be used on a voluntary basis by Chinese and European issuers to issue green bonds. China and Europe are the two largest green finance markets, and given that both are highly committed to implementing the carbon neutrality pledge, there are many opportunities for further collaboration in the area of low carbon investments and green finance.”
Ms. Ms. Julie Becker stated that “at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, we are fully committed to playing a key role in building the necessary bridges between China’s financial markets and international investors. Chinese and European capital markets need to join forces to promote and facilitate the growth of green finance, which is an essential step to accelerate the increasingly urgent green transition, and we welcome all the harmonisation efforts undertaken by Europe and China.”
The third segment consisted of an executive panel discussion moderated by Mr. Robert Madelin, Chairman of FIPRA International Ltd, with seven experts from the European Policy Center, the Development Research Center of the State Council, ING Global Sustainable Finance, EDP - Energias de Portugal, Three Gorges Europe, BYD Europe, and EEW - Energy from Waste.
To conclude the China-EU Green Economic Cooperation and Development Summit, the participating parties jointly issued the "Green Action Initiative", led by Mr. Xu Haifeng, Chairman of China Chamber of Commerce to the EU. The Green Action Initiative recognises the importance of China’s and the EU’s commitments for emissions reduction and climate neutrality, and it stands united in supporting China and the EU to timely achieve their domestic goals and in promoting deeper dialogue. It will also strive to further develop the coordination of both sides’ potential in the green economy.
This China-EU Green Economic Cooperation and Development Summit is the first initiative on green finance organized by Bank of China, Luxembourg Stock Exchange, and the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU in 2021. As such, it marks an important moment for building a road map to advance sustainable finance. With the joint efforts of both sides, the Sino-European green economic cooperation will advance to new levels, and together, China and the EU will lead the promotion of a green recovery in the post-pandemic era.