A seminar on Sustainable Financing for Indian Banks was organized by the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) and IFC on January 30, 2008 in Mumbai. The purpose of the seminar was to introduce Indian banks to the Equator Principles and the benefits and challenges of supporting sustainable financing. Rachel Kyte, Director of IFC's Environmental and Social Development Department (CES), presented an overview of global trends on sustainable finance and its driving force, followed by a presentation of the role of Indian banks in sustainable financing by Nachiket Mor, President of the ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth. The Indian offices of three Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs), namely the ABM AMRO, HSBC, and Citi, introduced their social and environmental risk management practices, along with the benefits of signing up for the Equator Principles.
Around fifty participants, including key Indian banks, consultants, journalists, and EPFIs based in India, participated in the seminar. The seminar consisted of lively discussions on how to implement environmental and social risk management consistent with international standards, along with the challenges of Indian banks to fill in the gaps between international standards and Indian regulations. Indian banks are highly interested in how the banks are implementing social and environmental risk management in the other emerging markets, and whether or not any other bank from the emerging markets signed the Equator Principles. The important role of the regulator to initiate sustainable financing was also discussed. Overall, the seminar helped enhance the interest and knowledge in environmental and social risk management among the Indian banks.
Based on the feedback and discussion during the seminar, more practical and detailed information on how to implement the environmental and social risk management would be helpful. Many banks are interested in participating in the Performance Standards Training, Equator Principles, sustainable financing, and environmental risk management. Generally speaking, the participants seem to consider the seminar timely and useful.
Presentations from the event are available for download below.
Panel Discussion: Sustainability in the Financial Sector (Benefits and challenges of implementing environmental and social risk management by banks in the Indian context)