Best green finance verification agency 2020
Ernst & Young
It was a particularly tough year to pick the winner of this award. With China’s domestic green finance industry fast developing, multiple verification agencies have sprung up in recent years.
Local competitors such as Lianhe Equator Environmental Impact Assessment Co are catching up. But for now, Ernst & Young still leads the crowd, thanks in large part to its reputation for professionalism.
The firm, led by Jack Chan, regional managing partner of EY Greater China, insists on conducting physical site investigations for green projects even though it is expensive to do so, making it one of the very few verification agencies that maintain the practice.
It follows international standards for verification.
It was also the first among the big four international accounting firms to gain membership of the council of China Green Finance Committee, as well as having a third-party verification qualification from the Climate Bond Initiative.
Since the beginning of 2016, Chinese issuers have sold roughly Rmb1.1 trillion ($154 billion) of green bonds in both the onshore and offshore markets. Ernst & Young verified nearly half of those.
During the process, it scored many firsts, including the first Sofr-linked green bond by Bank of China, the first sustainability themed and Bond Connect-eligible green financial bond by China Development Bank and the first green bond issued by a multilateral bank in the domestic market.
Thanks to its expertise both in the international and domestic markets, the firm has been called upon by Chinese regulators to provide input for green finance policies and to conduct green finance policy research.
At a time when China’s green finance market needs to earn the trust of international investors, Ernst & Young appears a crucial bridge between local credits and international investors.