2020 Round-Up: Achievements and Actions by SBN Members

Since SBN’s inception in 2012, 26 member countries have launched frameworks setting out national policies, voluntary industry principles, or guidelines for sustainable finance. In 2020 alone, over a quarter of SBN’s 41 member countries issued new sustainable finance framework documents.

Amid the global pandemic, SBN member countries not only maintained this momentum, but in many cases accelerated work, to promote sustainable finance as a tool for growth and resilience.

Below is a list of numerous inspiring achievements and actions by SBN member countries in 2020.

Joining SBN to be part of the international community committed to advancing sustainable finance in line with international good practice

  1. In July, the National Securities and Stock Market Commission of Ukraine (NSSMC) joined SBN. NSSMC is committed to promoting sustainable finance in Ukraine by developing a Sustainable Finance Roadmap, adopting green finance guidelines, and introducing an ESG Scorecard and ESG Disclosure Guidelines.
  2. In September, the Mongolia Sustainable Finance Association (MSFA) joined SBN. MSFA served as one of the SBN IDA Task Force co-chairs, which delivered the recent report “Necessary Ambition: How Low-Income Countries Are Leveraging Sustainable Finance to Address Poverty, Climate Change, and Other Urgent Challenges.” The mission of MSFA is to foster Mongolia as a regional sustainable finance knowledge hub by helping members integrate ESG and sustainability practices in their operations and promoting green and climate finance.
  3. In November, the National Bank of Ukraine joined SBN. NBU is committed to achieve progress in promoting sustainable finance in the banking sector of Ukraine within the next two years, both at the level of sustainable finance products and sound environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices by financial institutions.
  4. In November, the Association of Serbian Banks (ASB) joined SBN. ASB is committed to investing in national and regional progress in sustainable finance.   

Issuing new national sustainable finance policies, guidelines, or voluntary principles

  1. In February, the National Bank of Georgia launched the ESG Reporting and Disclosure Principles , which provide guidance to Georgian Commercial banks in ESG reporting and disclosure aligned with international good practice.
  2. In April, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines’ central bank, issued the country's first Sustainable Finance Framework, requiring banks to integrate environmental and social risk management in their corporate governance and risk management frameworks, as well as in their strategic objectives and operations.
  3. In May, South Africa’s National Treasury and Banking Association established a Climate Risk Forum to oversee implementation of recommendations in Treasury’s Technical Paper on Financing a Sustainable Economy.
  4. In July, South Africa’s Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) expanded its Green Bond Segment to a new Sustainability Segment, which makes it easier to list and trade sustainability-related instruments.
  5. In July, Central Bank of Mongolia announced its national Green Loan Statistics (unofficial English translation), calculating the amount and ratio of green loans in the portfolio based on the Mongolia Green Taxonomy.
  6. In July, People's Bank of China (PBOC) released a public consultation draft of its Notification on Evaluation of Green Finance Performance of Deposit-Type Financial Institutions in the Banking Industry (in Chinese). The proposal extends green evaluation coverage from green credit to include more financing tools, such as securities, investments, leasing, and trusts. Read more in English here.
  7. In August, National Banking and Insurance Commission (CNBS) of Honduras issued the Standard for the Management of Environmental and Social Risk applicable to the Institutions of the Financial System, the first national sustainable finance policy issued in the country. The document sets the standards for financial institutions to manage their environmental and social risk.
  8. In September, the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia published a Good Practice Guide for Issuing Green Bonds (in Spanish), which includes recommendations related to project selection and evaluation, fund management, and information disclosure. It also issued the External Circular 028 of 2020, which formally incorporates the definition of a Green Bond, making Colombia the first country in the region to have an exclusive regulatory framework for this type of thematic bonds.
  9. In September, The Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association, with IFC support, translated the Mongolia Green Taxonomy, issued in December 2019, into English for international collaboration and knowledge exchange.
  10. In October, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held its 6th Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, co-chaired by the State Bank of Vietnam and the Vietnam Ministry of Finance. The meeting welcomed the ASEAN Central Banks’ Agenda on Sustainable Banking and a report on the role of ASEAN central banks in addressing climate and environmental risks and promoting sustainable finance. The ASEAN countries jointly commit to i) an ASEAN-wide green taxonomy; (ii) ASEAN-specific green lending principles; and (ii) supervisory guidelines to support banks in integrating climate and environment-related risks into their risk management frameworks.
  11. In November, the Peru Ministry of Environment, jointly with 3 financial sector associations, relaunched the Green Protocol of Peru. The new protocol includes added content to promote environmental risk management by financial institutions and deepen sustainable development in the financial sector.
  12. In November, the Fiji Government launched the 2nd round of public consultation of the Climate Change Bill, which includes a section on sustainable finance, outlining the government’s authority and responsibility to promote and oversee climate finance.
  13. In November, Chilean Superintendencia de Pensiones (the pensions regulator in Chile) passed a new rule to require ESG and climate risk to be part of the investment analysis of the country's pension funds.
  14. In December, Bangladesh Bank issued the Sustainable Finance Policy for Banks and Financial Institutions with an Excel reporting template and the Sustainability Rating for Banks and Financial Institutions, which provide comprehensive sustainable finance taxonomy, green taxonomy, and a sustainability rating system.

 Adding sustainable finance to high-level national development plans

  1. In early 2020, Indonesia launched its 2020-2024 National Medium-Term Development Plan, which incorporated climate change into the mainstream of Indonesia's broader Low Carbon Development (LCDI) strategy.
  2. In October, South Africa announced its National Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. Highlighting green economic interventions and a sustainable recovery trajectory, the Plan serves as a green recovery blueprint for rebuilding and growing the economy with sustainability, resilience, and inclusion as priorities.
  3. In December, South Africa’s President appointed members of the inaugural Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission (P4C) to coordinate and oversee the just transition towards a low-carbon, inclusive, climate change resilient economy and society.
  4. In December, the Philippines Congress adopted House Resolution No. 1377, declaration a climate emergency and listing sustainable development and resilient investment planning, programming, and financing as one of the core mandates. 

Creating new entities focused on promoting sustainable finance, usually cross-sector, inter-agency, and public-private

  1. In April, The Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (Financial Superintendence of Colombia, or SFC) created the Sustainable Finance Working Group to implement SFC's sustainability strategy, including a sustainable finance taxonomy, ESG integration by financial institutions, climate risk, and capacity building.
  2. In August, Ecuador launched the Iniciativa de Finanzas Sostenibles (Sustainable Finance Initiative, or IFS), led by the Banco Central del Ecuador (BCE, the central bank of Ecuador). The IFS is an innovative public-private-academic collaboration to promote sustainable finance in Ecuador, aligning with international standards and good practice.
  3. In August, India held a national public-private Sustainable Finance Collaborative, including a 3-day consultation to mobilize sustainable and green finance, led by the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and the United Nations Development Programme. 

Publishing technical reports and case studies on topics related to sustainable finance

  1. In March, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) took proactive precautionary measures to curb and offset the negative implications of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. In June, CBE shared an SBN Case Study on its measures to ensure the safety of individuals and the continuity and viability of businesses.
  2. In March, the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) launched a comprehensive pandemic response and shared it in May as an SBN Case Study. Actions include policy interventions, a research study, a phased crisis response plan, awareness raising, capacity building, and other stakeholder engagement activities.
  3. In April, Mexico Central Bank published "Climate and environmental risks and opportunities in Mexico's financial system: from diagnosis to action, encouraging financial institutions to incorporate environmental issues into their risk assessment and corporate governance strategies, as well as to promote green finance.
  4. In June, South Africa's Reserve Bank, the central bank of the country, published the working paper "Climate change and its implications for central banks in emerging and developing economies ", which explores how emerging market and developing country central banks might develop policy responses.
  5. In September, The Banco de la República, Colombia (the central bank of Colombia) published the paper Climate Change: Policies to Manage Its Macroeconomic and Financial Effects. The paper focuses on how financial policies can help improve transparency and climate-related risk disclosure in financial institutions’ balance sheets and asset prices, and how those risks could be taken into account in monetary policy and central banks’ balance sheets and operations.
  6. In October, South Africa published A Project Briefing Report on Developing a National Green Finance Taxonomy, based on its comprehensive stakeholder consultation to develop a national green finance taxonomy. Read more at the South Africa Sustainable Finance Initiative Taxonomy Working Group website.
  7. In December, the South Africa Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), jointly with IFC, published the Sustainable Finance Practices in South Africa Retirement Funds Report, the first of this type in emerging markets.

Making public statement committed to sustainable finance by top-level government officials

  1. In July, the Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP, the central bank of the Philippines), Mr. Dionkno, set out a comprehensive vision for leveraging sustainable finance to fortify the national pandemic recovery. His speech calls on banks to issue social and sustainability bonds, increase digital banking and financial inclusion, and strengthen environmental and social risk management systems to manage physical and transition risks.
  2. In October, Indonesia Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati made a statement highlighting the country's commitment to reducing carbon emissions and achieving climate resilience.
  3. In November, the Fiji Attorney General, Minister of Economy, and Minister Responsible for Climate Change, Mr. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum made a public statement on the importance of the Fiji Climate Change Bill.
  4. In November, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the central bank of Philippines) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno made a public statement emphasizing that banks and regulators can no longer afford to ignore climate change or sustainability issues, which should be a governance priority. 
  5. In December, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the central bank of Philippines) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno made a public statement emphasizing that companies' corporate strategies and risk management processes must integrate sustainability principles, including climate change and ESG risk management.
  6. In December, Mr. Yi Gang, the Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), in a public statement, flagged the further efforts to improve the country’s green financing standards and laid out the key focal points for PBOC’s efforts to improve China’s green financing system.

Organizing awareness raising and capacity building events

  1. In February, SBN, joined by the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association and Climate Bonds Initiative, hosted the Trends in Taxonomy Development and Lessons from Emerging Markets.
  2. In April, SBN, Tsinghua University Green Finance Center, and World Bank Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia, co-hosted the webinar Environmental Information Disclosure by Financial Institutions and Green Bond Issuers.
  1. In June, the Nigeria Stock Exchange hosted a webinar on "Fundamentals of Developing Green Bond Markets" , the inaugural edition of its Webinar Series on Sustainable Capital Markets for West Africa.
  1. In June, SBN, joined by Bangladesh Bank, Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association, Nigeria Central Bank, and Kenya Bankers Association, hosted the webinar Rebuilding Resilience through Sustainable Finance to launch the SBN report Necessary Ambition: How Low-Income Countries Are Adopting Sustainable Finance to Address Poverty, Climate Change, and Other Urgent Challenges.
  2. In the summer, the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC, the financial superintendence of Colombia) launched its Sustainable Finance website (in Spanish) to share its sustainability and climate change agenda. The initiative aims to promote green finance and the management of environmental and climate risk.
  3. In July, the National Treasury of South Africa, IFC, Carbon Trust, and South Africa’s National Business Initiative (NBI) jointly hosted the webinar Competitiveness in South Africa – Exploring the Role of a South Africa Green Finance Taxonomy.
  4. In August, the Kenya Bankers Association and SBN jointly hosted the webinar Green Finance Supply and Demand Dynamics in Times of COVID.
  5. In November, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (the central bank of Philippines) hosted a webinar on climate risk, during which the Governor Benjamin E. Diokno emphasized that banks and regulators can no longer afford to ignore climate change or sustainability issues as a governance priority.
  6. In November, Banco Central do Brasil (the central bank of Brazil) hosted a series of webinars on Regulatory Initiatives Based on the Sustainability Dimension (sessions on 11/24, 11/25, and 11/26) as part of its Sustainability Agenda.
  7. In December, SBN, the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (UN SSE), and China Social Investment Forum (China SIF) co-hosted a webinar on Environmental Risk Management and Climate Exposure Reporting. SBN Asia focal point, Wei Yuan, shared IFC’s experience of Environmental & Social Risk Management (ESRM) in the banking sector.
  8. In December, the South Africa Financial Sector Conduct Authority and IFC jointly organized the webinar The State of Sustainable Finance in South Africa's Retirement Sector.
  9. In December, SBN and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) jointly organized a webinar on Advancing Environmental Assessment in Africa, featuring perspectives from the Ghana Sustainable Banking Committee.
  10. In December, Bank of Ghana and Ghana Association of Bankers launched the Sustainable Banking Principles training series with the support of IFC’s ESRM Ghana advisory program.  The training will be delivered through Q1 2021. 

SBN Members Peer-to-Peer Learning

  1. In June, facilitated by SBN and IFC, National Treasury of South Africa & National Bank of Georgia held a knowledge exchange session to share the green finance taxonomy development experience in South Africa. Read more.
  2. In December, facilitated by SBN and IFC, National Bank of Georgia & National Bank of Ukraine held a knowledge exchange session to discuss the importance of sustainable finance and central bank's critical role in helping the finance sector manage ESG risks and reveal new opportunities. Read more.

Formal collaborations announced with IFC

  1. In February, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and IFC signed a cooperation agreement to promote awareness and support JSE’s leadership on green, social, and sustainability finance.
  2. In April, the Superintendence of the Stock Market of the Dominican Republic (SIMV) and IFC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote green finance and the growth of the green capital market in the country, with a potential focus on developing a national green taxonomy.
  3. In May, the Mongolia Financial Regulatory Commission and IFC signed an MOU to further develop the market for green finance in Mongolia, including green bond guidelines and financing of environmentally friendly projects and practices in the country.
  4. In August, the Ukraine’s National Securities and Stock Market Commission and IFC signed a Corporate Agreement to promote sustainable finance in the country.


To share your sustainable finance development achievements and actions, please contact the SBN Secretariat at SBN_Secretariat@ifc.org.


Item posted: December 21, 2020