A fresh look at financing green activities

By Ayako Fujihara ‘21

During my summer placement at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, I conducted research related to emerging legal frameworks for tackling climate change, including the EU’s efforts to codify the green bond framework (bonds issued where the funds are to be allocated to “green” activities). On a related project, I wrote a memo on how central banks can help tackle climate change, which is not traditionally perceived as being within the mandate of central banks, especially in the U.S. or Europe. But what was really interesting to see is that some central banks in emerging economies in Asia, such as India and Bangladesh, have already been taking active steps—some for almost a decade—to promote investment in green activities in their economies. These measures include compensating commercial banks for loans extended to green activities, or committing to allocate a certain proportion of their lending to green activities. Central banks have the potential to leverage their position of oversight over financial markets to exercise a stronger influence over the country’s policy in this sphere, to ensure that active steps are being taken by financial institutions towards supporting the transition into a greener economy.

This turned out to be a wonderful way to see the intersection of law and policy, understanding how the Legal Transition Team works not just to advocate for legal reform in the EBRD’s countries of operations, but also takes into consideration what policy initiatives can be implemented. My understanding is that the EBRD is aiming to hold an event for central bankers across Eastern Europe and Central Asia on this topic in the coming months, so I hope that some of my research will be integrated.

Ayako Fujihara is a second-year student at HLS, with an interest in the legal infrastructures that undergird the international economic system.  She spent her 1L summer as a 2019 Chayes International Public Service Fellow, working with the EBRD’s Legal Transition Team. Her research focused on emerging challenges for various stakeholders in tackling climate change, as well as comparative analysis on international and national legal instruments in public procurement.

Photo courtesy of Ayako Fujihara