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Yin Beibei, urgewald

Urgewald publishes an NGO guide on Chinese commercial banks

Who is Who No. 3 – Chinese Commercial Banks: An NGO Guide

Chinese commercial banks are becoming an increasingly prominent source of funding for companies and projects in and outside China. Like their international peers, the Chinese commercial banks provide large sums to companies and projects that carry clear or potential environmental and social risks. For example, Chinese banks provided USD 749 billion in loans and underwriting services to the global coal industry from January 2019 to November 2021. This figure makes China the largest source of funding for the coal industry in the world according to research by Urgewald, a non-profit environmental and human rights organisations, and its partners. Burning coal carries dire consequences for the Earth’s atmosphere and human health. Coal is also responsible for over 40 % of energy-related CO2 emissions.

Civil society organizations around the world are becoming more aware of the role Chinese banks play in financing companies and projects that can cause human and environmental harm. This report was produced to help interested communities and civil society organizations to better understand the commercial banking sector in China, including how major Chinese commercial banks operate and how they are regulated. The report also provides some entry points for organizations seeking engagement with the Chinese commercial banks. To this end, we provide an overview of recent and future developments in China’s policies on climate and energy, as well as the evolving sustainability requirements for the commercial banking sector.