The Next Big Challenge: Greening the Belt and Road Initiative
- The Belt and Road (B&R) is China’s multi-billiondollar connectivity initiative across Eurasia and Africa. It spans nearly 70 countries, accounting for a third of global GDP, and will be the backbone of Beijing’s foreign policy and SOE agendas until 2049.
- To date, the B&R evades classification and does not elicit unanimity. Carbon lock-in and white elephant infrastructures are as plausible as renewable revolution or climate change adaptation and resilience projects. Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping has both tied his name to the B&R and assigned to China a “role of torch-bearer in the global endeavour for ecological civilization”.
- In our view, to match words with action, and to make B&R projects palatable for foreign investors and enterprises, they must deliver a “triple win” result for Chinese firms, host countries and the planet. Navigating B&R complexity with a sustainable finance compass –and bridging the infrastructure gap in a 2°C consistent way– is an enthralling challenge. The B&R strategic planning stage ends in 2021, it is still a blank page with no definitive framework or scope of activities… let’s green it!