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7 ways green finance providers screen projects

What decision-making filters do green finance providers use when deciding where to invest? In this post the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA) will unpack seven points taken from research by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

Negative or Exclusionary screening
Here an investor intentionally filters out the companies and entities that they decide have a negative impact on society in general or conflict with environmental and social governance criteria. For example, this approach may exclude industries involved in tobacco, thermal coal (the type of coal used to generate electricity), weapons, or gambling.

Positive or best-in-class screening
Also known as thematic investing, here a specific theme linked to sustainability is selected, such as climate, housing, and water, and the investments limited to that sector. The investments are motivated either by the requirements to ensure the best financial return for financers, or by the need to align their portfolio with their specific values.

Norms-based screening
International norms such as minimum standards of business practice held by groups such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). These minimum standards include factors bearing to human rights, labour conditions, environmental responsibility and anti-corruption.

Economic and social governance-based (ESG) screening
This type of screening integrates ESG performance indicators together with traditional investment analysis and decision making at the point of buying the asset. Sometimes investors use a ‘best-in-class’ within the ESG view to create specific scores relative to the overall market. This listing of ESG scores of other similar companies help to give a point of reference to decision makers. 

Sustainability-themed investing
Investing in themes or assets directly related to sustainability are central to this type of screening, which will focus on sectors such as clean energy, green technologies, sustainable agriculture and the like.

Impact or community investing
Here the focus is on solving social or environmental problems and challenges, which may include community investing where investments are used to create capital, credit and training resources and opportunities for people who are under-served by traditional financial institutions. The target is to invest directly in social or environmental projects.

Corporate engagement and shareholder action
In this scenario shareholders influence corporate investor behaviour through engaging directly with senior management and possibly also the boards of companies, filing or co-filing shareholder proposals and proxy voting that is guided by ESG guidelines.

For more information on green finance, contact the GBCSA on [email protected].

Individual Membership

Designed for professionals acting in their individual capacity, including single consultant-businesses.

Organisational Membership

Ideal for companies, government departments, and organisations.

  • Total Employees: 1 - 5 Employees - R 4080.00
  • Total Employees: 6 - 20 Employees - R 12570.00
  • Total Employees: 21 - 50 Employees - R 24690.00
  • Total Employees: 51 Plus Employees - R 43840.00

Lisa Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Lisa Reynolds is the CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa.

Lisa was the driver for the drafting of Energy Efficiency Standards and Regulations for Buildings and has been involved in Energy Efficiency since 2003. She serves on many committees in the SABS and within the energy management professionals’ space. She was President of the SAEEC from 2016 to 2019 and was the previous President of the ESCo (Energy Services Companies) Association. Lisa was instrumental in the formation of SAFEE (Southern African Females in Energy Efficiency) within SAEEC.

She has assisted the South African Government with its Green Building Framework policies, Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives and Energy Efficiency Strategies

Her passion for the “Green space” started with the birth of the Green Building Council in 2007. Lisa served on the Board and the Technical Committee of the GBCSA, as well as on several Technical Working Groups for Rating Tools and Criteria. Lisa. became CEO in June 2020.

Lisa has a BSc, an MBA and a CEM. Lisa’s awards include the 2007 ETA Award for Women, 2008 Individual Energy (SAEE), 2012 SABS Standards Writer Award; the 2014 Women in Energy (SAWIEN); and the 2016 Ian Lane Hall of Fame award.

Lisa is committed to growing the Green Economy within a Green Recovery.

Organisational categories

As an organisational member, you will fall into one of the below categories, and be charged according to specific size indicators. Please reach out to us for any further clarity on which category is best for your organisation

Property Developers

Annual Turnover

Investors, Owners, Property Managers

Total Asset Value

Major Corporate Tenants & Retail

Annual Gross Rentals

Building Contractors

Annual Turnover

Building Product Manufacturers & Distributors

Annual Turnover

Professional Services: Architects, Designers, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, PM’s, Consultants, Legal

Number of employees

Research, Higher Education, NGO’S & Regulators

NGO or Research/Higher Education/ Regulators

Related Interests: Utilities, Financial, Insurance, etc.

Annual Turnover


Local/ municipal/ provincial/ state 
Contact GBCSA to confirm your category