中资银行不执行,绿色政策有何用?

 资银行不执行,绿色政策有何用?

 
资银行无视《绿色信贷指引》以及厄瓜多尔人对拟建铜矿的呼吁
 
 
可持续金融与发展的领导者……”  “建立了超越西方机构的绿色金融新模式……”  “们看到的唯一国家……”  “超越……” “世界上最先进的之一……”  “锐模式……” “中国有机会成为可持续发展的全球领导者……”
 
以上只是我最近听到的称赞中国《绿色信贷指引》(中国政府2012发布的银行业规章)的溢美之词的一小部分。此政策究竟有何特别之处?
 
厄瓜多经济与社会权利中心的Paulina Garzon诉《卫报》,《绿色信贷指引》的特别之处在于,它要求银行提供贷款前考虑项目的社会和环境影响,并在整个项目周期中对其进行严格监察。此外,贷款的监管方式亦有创新。
 
经济与社会权利中心近日出版了一本介绍中国海外贷款和投资相关社会环境法规的西班牙语手册Garzon该书作者。她指出,中国银监会已同意在国内和国际层面评价、管理和监督中资国有银行贷款的社会和环境风险。我们还没有看到任何其他国家的银行监管机构作出类似承诺。
 
Garzon说,中国银监会认提供贷款的银行负有社会和环境责任,且该责任并不终止于向客户(无论政府还是企业)放贷之时,而是持续项目的整个实施阶段,直至其结束。她接着说:
 
绿色信贷指引》明确规定,银行必须确保信贷资金最大限度地减少其资助项目的社会和环境影响,甚至指出当社会和环境不合规时可中止贷款。一些多边银行亦有类似原则,但在国家银行中尚属先例。
 
Garzon说,《绿色信贷指引》为中资银行必须开展的职调查制定了非常高的标准。
 
职调查必须全面、深入、细致,意味着银行必须对项目的社会和环境影响进行周密调查,说。类表述在任何其他金砖国家银行的环境准则中均不存在。
 
经济与社会权利中心最近出版的手册中把《绿色信贷指引》列为涉及中资国有银行海外贷款的7项最重要的法规之一,重点提到了开展项目现场检查以及把环境条款纳入贷款合同等规定。在最近的一篇文章中,Garzon进一步把《绿色信贷指引》描述为可能是中国最重要和有用的社会与环境法规,并且是全球范围内最先进的银行法规之一。”Garzon说:
 
绿色信贷指引》规定,中资银行必须在项目的设计、准备、施工、竣工、运营、关停各环节进行社会和环境影响评估。此要求比国家法律更为严格。此外,它还指出项目……尤其是涉及重大社会和环境风险的项目,必须与国际上的社会和环境良好做法保持一致……绿色信贷指引》还提供了评估和监测项目每一阶段社会和环境影响的各种工具。
 
大地之友(美国)的Michelle Chan对《绿色信贷指引》给予肯定,称它是中国可持续金融政策的典范。
 
为它是强制性的,并且对于履行环境和社会责任不达标的客户(包括海外项目)有具体的融资后果 —— 即中止或终止贷款。说,几乎没有其他国家发布包含上述要求的政策。公平地说,中国的可持续金融政策,尤其是《绿色信贷指引》,确实是世界上最先进的之一。
 
Chan认为,美国或欧洲都没有等效的绿色金融政策。
 
虽然《赤道原则》十分重要,但其采纳和实施全凭自愿。没有国家规定必须切实执行。另一方面,《绿色信贷指引》是自上而下的强制性国家法规。
 
但如果《绿色信贷指引》只是纸上谈兵呢?中资银行理会此政策吗?我最近中外对话所做的报道提到,厄瓜多尔的非政府组织和土著领导人致信6家中资银行 —— 中国银行、中国国家开发银行、中国进出口银行,中国招商银行,中国建设银行和中国工商银行,以及中国银监会 —— 指出拟建的El Mirador铜矿项目将对神鹰山区(Cordillera del Condor脆弱的生态系统造成不可逆转的破坏,并侵犯土著人民的权利。他们认为资助该项目违反了《绿色信贷指引》,并要求与银行方面会晤,以便解释为何El Mirador项目无论对中国或厄瓜多尔而言,皆是一个糟糕的选择。
 
中国的国有企业铜陵有色金属集团(铜陵有色)下属子公司是Mirador项目的合资方,该项目计划占用近1万公顷土地建设露天铜矿。厄方已确认铜陵有色获得了上述银行的贷款,但未证实这些款项是否专为Mirador项目提供。
 
们恭敬询问贵行如何积极执行《绿色信贷指引》,以解决贵行客户铜陵有色涉及的问题(例如,对当地生态系统造成不可逆转的破坏,并侵犯土著人民的权利)?贵行对该项目的环境和社会风险评价作了怎样的修改?厄方128发出的信中如此问道。
 
中方的反应如何?有如石沉大海。两封信被退回,而讯息传达到其他四家银行的唯一迹象是中国银行给其中一家非政府组织生态行动打去的电话。
 
中国银行的雇员打来三次电话才找到我。他说需要信函的西班牙语版,态行动的Gloria Chicaiza说,我把函件的英语和西班牙语版通过电子邮件发送给了他。我问了他的名字和银行联系电话,他叫我把问题写在邮件里,并保证将会作答。他又打来一次电话,问我是否发送了邮件。我说已经发送了。此后他既未再打电话,也没有回复我。
 
Chicaiza说,信件寄出之后,Mirador项目在继续推进,森林被清除,警察也被派驻到项目地控制外人进出。
 
眼下,《绿色信贷指引》的问题在于,有越来越多的证据表明,它并未被中资银行在海外执行,并且此情况未引起中国银行业监管机构的重视,大地之友(美国)的Chan说。从我们了解的案例来看,没有证据表明中国公司或银行把它当回事。中资银行既未明确认可、也未切实执行该政策。甚至不清楚,中资银行和公司是否知道该政策是强制性要求。
 
遗憾的是,迄今为止,尽管有《绿色信贷指引》存在,但中资银行资助的涉及重大社会和环境影响的数十个项目的社会和环境影响评价并未改善。经济与社会权利中心的Garzon在她最近的一篇文章中写道,这些投资达数十亿美元的项目涉及采矿、石油和天然气、大型水电、道路和交通以及农业产业化……中国银监会仍未设立负责确保银行遵守《绿色信贷指引》的部门。
 
和厄瓜多尔人一样,我也没有收到银行的回音。当我试图为中外对话的文章联络他们时,注意到钢琴家郎朗作为中国招商银行的品牌大使现在其网站首页,旁边有句口号,一切为您
 
一切为您试试看跟Mirador项目地周围的厄瓜多尔人这样说。
 
 
 
What good are China’s green policies if its banks don’t listen?
Chinese banks ignore pleas by Ecuadorians over planned copper mine and the “Green Credit Directive”
 
 
 
“Leader in sustainable finance and development. . .” “Exceeding Western institutions in establishing new models of green finance. . .” “The only country we’ve seen. . .” “Going above and beyond. . .” “Among the most progressive in the world. . .” “A cutting edge model. . .” “China’s chance to become the global leader in sustainable development. . .”
 
These are just a few of the encouraging remarks I’ve heard recently about China’s “Green Credit Directive” (GCD), a 2012 Chinese government banking regulation. What’s so special about it?
 
Paulina Garzon, from Ecuador’s Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CDES), told The Guardian that it’s the GCD’s requirement that banks consider social and environmental impacts before making a loan for a project and then rigorously monitor such impacts throughout the project’s life, as well as the way such loans are regulated.
 
“The public institution regulating the banks, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), has agreed at national and international levels to evaluate, manage and supervise the social and environmental risks of loans given by Chinese state banks,” says Garzon, author of a manual recently published by CDES, in Spanish, on socio-environmental regulations for Chinese loans and investment abroad. “We haven’t seen that type of agreement from a bank regulatory body in any other country.”
 
According to Garzon, China, through the CBRC, has “acknowledged that the bank making the loan has social and environmental responsibilities, and that such responsibilities don’t end when the loan is made to the client – whether government or company – but continue throughout the implementation of the project until it closes.” She goes on:
 
The GCD clearly stipulates that banks are obliged to ensure that loans minimize the social and environmental impacts of the projects that they finance, and it even indicates that a loan can be suspended if social and environmental regulations aren’t met. Some multilateral banks have similar principles, but not national banks.
 
Garzon says the GCD has set a “very high bar” in terms of the “due diligence” activities that Chinese banks must carry out.
 
“This due diligence has to be “complete, exhaustive and detailed” and means that banks must do meticulous research on social and environmental impacts,” she says. “This type of language doesn’t exist in any of the environmental guidelines from any other national bank in BRICs countries.”
 
CDES’s recently-published manual lists the GCD as one of the seven most important regulations regarding Chinese state banks’ loans abroad, highlighting elements such as the responsibility to make on-site project visits and incorporate environmental conditions into loan contracts. In a recent article Garzon goes even further, describing the GCD as “probably China’s most important and useful social and environmental regulation, and one of the most advanced banking regulations at the global level.” According to Garzon:
 
The [GCD] establishes that Chinese banks must do social and environmental impact evaluations for all stages of a project. . . including: design, preparation, construction, implementation, operation and closure. This requirement is more exacting than national laws. In addition, [it] states that projects. . . especially those involving important social and environmental risks, must comply with best international social and environmental practices. . . It offers various instruments to evaluate and monitor the social and environmental impacts of every stage of a project.
 
Michelle Chan, from Friends of the Earth-USA, also speaks positively of the GCD, calling it a “prime example of Chinese sustainable finance policies.”
 
“That’s because it’s mandatory, it has specific financing consequences – i.e. suspension or termination of loans – for clients who don’t fulfill the required level of environmental and social obligations, and it includes overseas projects,” she says. “Few other, if any, countries have released policies that incorporate these points. It’s fair to say that Chinese sustainable finance policies, specifically the GCD, are indeed some of the most progressive in the world.”
 
Chan believes there is no equivalent green banking policy in the USA or Europe.
 
“There are the Equator Principles,” she says, “which, although important, are completely voluntary in adoption and implementation and no national regulation from specific countries to actually enforce them. On the other hand, the GCD is a top-down national regulation and required.”
 
But what if the GCD only exists on paper? Are Chinese banks paying attention? As I reported recently for chinadialogue, Ecuadorian NGOs and indigenous leaders have written to six Chinese banks – the Bank of China, the China Development Bank, China’s Export-Import Bank, the China Merchants Bank, the China Construction Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, as well as the CBRC – stating that a planned copper mine will “irreversibly devastate” the “fragile ecosystem” in the Cordillera del Condor region and violate indigenous peoples’ rights. They argue that funding the project contravenes the GCD, and ask to meet the banks to explain “why El Mirador is a poor choice as a development project for both China and Ecuador.”
 
The Mirador project – as it’s called, set to be an open-sky mine and involve almost 10,000 hectares – is joint-owned by a subsidiary of the Chinese state-controlled Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holding Company. The Ecuadorians have confirmed Tongling has received loans from the banks, although they couldn’t confirm if such loans were specifically for Mirador.
 
“We respectfully ask how [your Bank] is actively implementing the Green Credit Directive to resolve these problems [e.g. among local communities, “irreversibly” devastating the ecosystem, and violating indigenous peoples’ rights] in regards to your client, TNMG [Tongling], and how your institution has modified its environmental and social risk assessment to this project,” the Ecuadorians’ letters, dated 28 January, states.
 
The response? Nada. Two of the letters were returned, and the only indication that any of the other four banks had been reached was a telephone call from the Bank of China to one of the NGOs, Accion Ecologica.
 
“An employee from the Bank phoned – three times until he got hold of me – and said he needed a Spanish version of the letter,” says Accion Ecologica’s Gloria Chicaiza. “I emailed it to him in English and Spanish. I asked him his name and for a telephone number at the Bank, and he asked me to put that in an email and assured me he would reply. He called one more time to ask if I had sent the letter, and I said that I had done. After that, he didn’t call again, nor reply to me.”
 
Since the letters were posted, operations at Mirador have been advancing, according to Chicaiza, with forest cleared and the police arriving to restrict access.
 
“The problem with the GCD at the moment is the growing evidence that it isn’t being implemented by Chinese banks overseas, and this lack of implementation is being overlooked by Chinese banking regulators,” says Friends of the Earth-USA’s Chan. “From the cases we’ve looked at, there’s no evidence that Chinese companies or banks are taking it seriously, and there has been no discernible recognition or action from Chinese banks to implement it. It’s not even clear if Chinese banks and companies know it’s a requirement.”
 
“Unfortunately, to date, the existence of the GCD has not led to better social and environmental evaluation in the tens of projects with serious social and environmental impacts funded by Chinese banks,” CDES’s Garzon wrote in her recent article, “which are investing billions of dollars in mining and oil and gas, the construction of hydroelectric mega-projects, road and other transport projects, and industrial agriculture. . . The China Banking Regulatory Commission still doesn’t have a department responsible for ensuring that banks comply with the Green Credit Directive.”
 
Like the Ecuadorians, I didn’t hear back from the banks either, when I tried to contact for them for the chinadialogue article, but noted that pianist Lang Lang features on the front page of the China Merchants Bank’s (CMB) website as its “brand ambassador” alongside the slogan, “We are here just for you.”
 
“We are here just for you”? Try telling that to the Ecuadorians around Mirador.

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