Green financial products still in infancy
The idea of "going green" is becoming a prominent strategy in the world of business. But green financial products are still rare, especially in China.
Green mortgages, for owners of energy efficient homes at lower interest rates, are considered green financial products and are already in place, Jennifer D. Berlin of LL Global said at the 19th Annual Strategic Issues conference held April 7-8 in Beijing.
Green car loans and green insurance, which offer premium rate discounts for energy efficient buildings or energy efficient driving, are also some forms of green financial products, Berlin added.
However, development of these products is still in its infancy.
C.F. Yam is regional general manager of Insurance CommBank Management Consulting (Asia) Company Limited. He told chinadaily.com.cn that, as far as he knew, there have not been such green financial products within the Commonwealth Bank Group. But, he said, his company has other urgent plans to be executed.
And Yam's not alone.
Zhang Tao, deputy general manager of SDC in Sino Life Insurance Co Ltd, told chinadaily.com.cn that there is urgency within his company, as well. While Zhang's company currently has no green financial products, he said it may have some in the future.
"Currently," he said, "our top priority is to survive."
Berlin said that green financial products and services are innovative. She told chinadaily.com.cn that they have not been high on the agenda for most companies. Rather, they are part of a niche market.
The diffusion of these innovations into standard business operation may require more than a push from the financial sector. Berlin said green financial products and services require effort from other areas, such as government.
However, an increasing number of companies worldwide, especially in Asia, are stressing the importance of a green image, and some have jumped on board the "going green" bandwagon, , according to surveys conducted by LL Global Inc.
Of the Asian companies surveyed, 48 percent considered a green image to be "very important" in 2011. That's up from 14 percent in 2008
Of the companies in Asia surveyed, 13 percent said they had green products in 2011 – an increase of 8 percentage points since 2008.
A total of 98 companies in Asia and Latin America participated in the 2008 survey and 76 companies in the 2011 survey.