Sustainable banking reforms in progress | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 11, 2019

Sustainable banking reforms in progress

IFC-SBN report says Bangladesh among 38 countries to initiate the move

Bangladesh is among 38 emerging market economies having initiated key banking reforms to drive development and fight climate change, according to a report of the countries’ platform for sustainable finance. 

These reforms require banks to assess, manage and report on environmental, social and governance risks in their lending operations and put market incentives in place for banks to lend to green projects.

International Finance Corporation (IFC)-facilitated Sustainable Banking Network (SBN) prepared the second Global Progress Report, the World Bank Group member said in a press release yesterday.

Established in 2012 with a commitment to sustainable finance, the SBN is now a community of 53 financial regulators and banking associations from the 38 countries, which represent $43 trillion, or 85 percent, of emerging market banking assets.

Of the 38, some 22 adopted national sustainable finance policies and voluntary principles, seven of which were launched in 2019 alone.

The report also captured the progress made by 14 countries to actively grow their green bond markets and data showed increasing innovation by financial institutions to green their lending portfolios.

In addition to providing practical resources for countries undertaking sustainable finance reforms, the report also highlighted the peer-to-peer knowledge sharing of the SBN members.

Bangladesh is among the group of countries advancing implementation of sustainable banking framework over the past few years.

Since 2011, Bangladesh Bank has developed several policies to promote sustainable finance, including policy guidelines on green banking in 2013, and Guidelines on Environmental and Social Risk Management in 2017.

These guidelines encourage banks and financial institutions to incorporate environmental and social risk management into their credit activities, and to publish green banking and sustainability reports.

The guidelines reflect the Bangladesh government’s commitment to sustainability and importance of the banking and financial sector in achieving progress towards sustainable development goals and nationally determined contributions. “The SBN members have demonstrated that transforming financial markets toward sustainability is possible,” said IFC Vice President Georgina Baker.

“Emerging markets are on the forefront of this shift – and the SBN’s tools and guidance have laid the groundwork for more countries to follow suit,” she said.

“It is aspiring for us to observe the remarkable progress of Bangladesh among its peers in the SBN global report,” said Khondkar Morshed Millat, general manager of the sustainable finance department at Bangladesh Bank.

“The report also provides us worthy snapshot of spaces to improve further through innovation in the coming years,” he said. “Ultimately, the SBN is about collaboration,” said Ye Yanfei, deputy director-general of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and co-chair of SBN Measurement Working Group.

“By bringing together regulators, policymakers, trade associations and development institutions, the SBN has been able to not only turn sustainable finance policies into action, but also strengthen measurement to capture market impact.” 

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