China Development Bank

The China Development Bank is one of China’s three state policy banks, and mainly supports the policies laid out in the State Council’s successive Five-Year Plans in areas such as electric power, roads, railways, petroleum and petrochemicals, coal, post and telecommunications and agriculture. Since 1999 the Chinese government has pursued a policy of ‘Going out’, encouraging its banks and companies to invest abroad, and this has led to the CDB and China ExIm Bank together lending more than World Bank. In the Western Balkans, the CDB has so far financed the Stanari lignite-fired power plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Ulog hydropower plant, also in BiH.

For more information on the CDB, see Friends of the Earth US’s excellent publication China Development Bank’s Overseas Investments: An assessment of environmental and social policies and practices.


The CDB has its own environmental guidelines. In its 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility report it announced that it had introduced 142 performance indicators based on the United Nations Global Compact’s ten principles related to human rights, the environment, labour and corruption. These indicators are not publicly available, nevertheless some information about their contents is known:

  • An environmental impact assessment is required before the project starts
  • The project is reviewed by the bank
  • The project must comply with host country laws and regulations. Western Balkans projects financed by the CDB must also comply with EU law since these countries aspire to EU membership and already have some commitments under the Energy Community Treaty.
  • Ex-post environmental assessment (ie. after the project is finished) is required, to ascertain that the client fulfilled its commitments. This is particularly interesting as multilateral development banks do not request such an assessment.

In 2012, through the platform of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Inter-bank Consortium Council the CDB issued the ‘Sustainable Development Initiative’ jointly with 5 other banks to advocate and implement social responsibility initiatives, support the green economy and make new contributions to the sustainable development of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries.

The CDB is also subject to the Chinese government’s Green Credit Directive, issued in 2012.


The China Development Bank does not have a public grievance mechanism and does not publish much information about its staff on its website. Therefore getting in touch is not easy: you need to send faxes and hard copies of letters.

For more information on the appropriate style to use when contacting Chinese banks and institutions, see here.

If you would like advice about contacting the banks contact CEE Bankwatch Network by email:

It is usually difficult to find out the relevant person to contact, so first look for some clues in the media coverage of the project or the particular office of the bank in question. For the Chinese headquarters, if you cannot find a specific person connected to the project or the region where the project is situated, write to the most senior people listed on the website.

You should not expect to receive an answer quickly, if at all. This can be discouraging, however do not underestimate the impact of receiving letters from local groups or affected people.

Since the banks are overseen by various state institutions, if you don’t receive any response from the banks, you may consider writing to some of the Chinese state institutions. For more information, contact CEE Bankwatch Network (

Director WANG Ge Fan, Department of International Cooperation
China Development Bank (國家開發銀行國際合作局王革凡局長)
8/F, COSCO Mansion, No 158 Fuxingmennei Street, Xicheng District, Beijing (北京市西城區復興門內大街遠洋大廈8層)
P.R.China 100031

TEL: +86-10-6830 6789
FAX: +86-10-6830 6699


Stanari lignite-fired power plant, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The 300 MW Stanari lignite-fired power plant near Doboj in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently under construction (as of 2014) by China’s Dongfang.

Read the case study »