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China's best bank for CSR 2017: Industrial Bank

Industrial Bank

Does China have a national dress? A national colour? Increasingly, the preferred garb is the gauze facemask, the colour not the vibrant vermillion of the national flag but dull beige, the shade of the film of filth that settles on surfaces – and in lungs – across the nation.

In places like the heavily industrialized northeast, in cities such as Harbin, Shenyang and Changchun, it is standard morning procedure to check the weather app to gauge how dangerous the pollution levels are. So any bank that enforces improvement in air quality gets our vote.

Step forward the Industrial Bank, which for years has funded many of the very enterprises that have contributed to China’s shocking air quality. Industrial Bank, under chairman Gao Jianping, seems to have got the message. It is even blacklisting suppliers with an “adverse environmental and social impact behaviour,” directly terminating contracts signed with polluters. As Industrial Bank puts it, “the bank advocates the handling with official business in low-carbon conditions, preserves the ecological environment and reduces the greenhouse gas emission in the routine of daily work.” The language may be clunky, but it’s the actions that matter.

Speak to anyone involved in green finance in China today – and there are plenty of important people and institutions doing far more than paying lip-service to it – and they’ll tell you that Industrial Bank is firmly at the forefront.