May 10, 2019

How To Make China’s Belt And Road Green

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
How To Make China’s Belt And Road Green

On April 25-27, Chinese leaders met in Beijing with heads of state and delegations from more than 40 countries to discuss next steps in implementing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s $1 trillion infrastructure investment program.

An important focus of this year’s forum was sustainability. The word "green" was noticeably more prominent in the drafting of the joint communique, and President Xi Jinping gave a high-profile address in which he declared that BRI investment should be “open, green and clean.”

The task of making BRI green is daunting, but the tools exist for China to take on this challenge, write Nicholas Institute Senior Fellow Elizabeth Losos and Research Associate Erik Myxter-lino for SupChina. To do so, China needs to take two steps to make BRI investments environmentally sensitive and sustainable – ensure that funders consider the environmental impacts of projects at the earliest stages of the investment process and ensure that the state-owned insurance company and policy banks greenlight only projects that pass an environmental and social review.