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Culture & Design

Green Property Debt Come With Opaque Climate Standards

  • Property firms are among the biggest sellers of green debt
  • Varied certifications, rulebooks increase risk of greenwashing
Artist impression of the Kaisa Group Holdings building in Shenzhen, China.
Artist impression of the Kaisa Group Holdings building in Shenzhen, China.Source: Kaisa Group Holdings
Corrected

The 50-floor building designed to look like a bundle of chopsticks will stand out in China’s industrial hub of Shenzhen. It will also use natural ventilation, have a green roof and collect rainwater for irrigation -- but that’s not unusual these days.

The Kaisa Group Holdings project is just one of hundreds around the world being driven by green bonds. Property firms have been among the cheerleaders of a rush to ethical finance, posing a challenge for investors to scrutinize how green this building frenzy actually is, at a time when debt from the sector is under pressure on contagion from distressed developer China Evergrande Group.