Japan has been working very hard in the last few years to shift from being a mass producing, mass consuming society to a sustainable, earth friendly one. Last week the country boosted its green cred by announcing a new $5 billion loan fund to assist developing nations improve their environmental infrastructure.

What does this mean exactly? Loans will be supplied over the next two years to fund large eco-conscious projects in both the public and private sectors. Projects may include improving environmental infrastructure around solar power systems, sewage systems, water-treatment equipment and transportation systems to reduce CO2 emissions.

The Japanese have been expressing for a while their concern for developing nations during this time of global economic downturn. Many developing nations and emerging markets have used US and European financial institutions to finance public projects. But since the credit crunch launched into full swing lenders have been pulling out their investments in an attempt to repair finances at home.

The loans will hopefully stimulate the emerging economies and develop long-term eco-focused infrastructure within the developing countries. This program is in addition to the US$1 billion Tokyo committed to last month to help its Asian neighbours with their dwindling global trade.