First PE fund for Green Silk Road launched in Beijing

The first-ever private equity fund aimed at improving the ecological environment of the Silk Road Economic Belt was initiated Sunday in Beijing.

The Green Ecological Silk Road Investment Fund will back projects on ecological solar panel construction, clean energy and ecological remediation in China and other countries along the Belt.

The fund, which has first round investment of 30 billion yuan (US$ 4.8 billion), was launched by several top enterprises in China including Elion Resources, China Oceanwide, Chint Group, Huiyuan Juice, Macrolink, JuneYao, Ping’an Bank and Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city.

The success of the Green Ecological Silk Road Investment Fund would demonstrate land degradation neutrality is an achievable, measurable and compelling goal the world can get behind.

Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification

For its first project, the fund will use 5 billion yuan (US$ 790 million) in investment capital to establish an ecological solar panel industrial chain in the corridor between Beijing and the city of Zhangjiakou in Hebei province. This will help create a renewable economy for electricity generation, tree planting, grass planting and farming.

Wang Wenbiao, chairman of Elion Resources, believes this is a very promising opportunity to allocate more funds into greening the Belt. “Utilizing the PPP [public-private partnership] mode, we are willing to promote green investment along the Belt. Some experts say that energy and environmental fields will be top priorities of the Belt. It’s estimated that over US$5 trillion will be injected into the energy sector by China in the next 10 years,” he said.

The Belt mainly passes through central and western China as well as central Asia and the Middle East, all of which suffer from worsening desertification and drought problems. For example, 66 per cent of land in Kazakhstan is deteriorating, and nearly 1.8 trillion hectares of land in the country are facing the threat of desertification.

Fund manager Liu Guochen disclosed that the fund will create over 100 billion yuan (US$ 16 billion) in investment value and 100 billion yuan in gross environmental production, or GEP. Liu also asserted that the fund will provide 200,000 green job opportunities in the next six to eight years.

Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, sent a congratulatory message to the fund at its launch.

“The success of the Green Ecological Silk Road Investment Fund would demonstrate land degradation neutrality is an achievable, measurable and compelling goal the world can get behind. At the same time, it would also be trail-brazing example of the power of collective action by and determination of like-minded people towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ” Barbut’s message stated.

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