The report on “Quantitative easing and nature loss” by Katie Kedward et al. explores the interactions between nature-related financial risks and monetary policy, focusing on the ECB’s corporate asset purchase operations (also described as corporate ‘quantitative easing’ or ‘QE’). Using the ENCORE framework, we find that the sectors the ECB is invested in are associated with significantly high dependencies upon nature to facilitate production, as well as contributing to significantly negative impacts upon nature which threaten the future provision of vital ecosystem services. As a major central bank and holder of 20% of euro-denominated corporate bonds, the ECB’s approach to managing nature-related risks within its portfolio will have considerable signalling power to financial markets and could have a material impact on the uptake of prudent risk management practices relating to nature.
The working paper “How unconventional is green monetary policy?” by Melina Papoutsi et al. studies the environmental impact of unconventional monetary policy. Our theoretical framework is a multisector growth model with climate externalities and financial frictions. When central bank asset purchases have real effects on aggregate output, their sectoral composition typically affects the climate. Market neutrality of asset purchases does not follow from simple formulas used by policy makers, but depends on (i) the impact of central bank purchases on firms’ cost of capital and (ii) the share of capital funded by bonds. We use micro data on bond holdings, firm characteristics and emissions to show that the ECB’s corporate bond portfolio is tilted towards brown sectors relative to a market portfolio of sectoral capital stocks.