Sustainable Banking Network

SBN Task Force Report – Necessary Ambition: How Low-Income Countries Are Adopting Sustainable Finance to Address Poverty, Climate Change, and Other Urgent Issues

June 22, 2020 - We are delighted to release the report: Necessary Ambition: How Low-Income Countries Are Adopting Sustainable Finance to Address Poverty, Climate Change, and Other Urgent Challenges, along with its 16 case studies, 8 country reports, and a set of tools to support decisions in developing and implementing sustainable finance roadmaps. This is the first comprehensive review of drivers and innovation behind market-level efforts to promote sustainable finance in low-income countries.

The study finds that sustainable finance has emerged as a pathway for low-income countries to de-risk investments and enable the financial flows needed to support climate action and sustainable development. SBN countries recognize that transitioning to sustainable financial systems is critical to their futures.

Read the Executive Summary and Press Release.



The Sustainable Banking Network (SBN) is a unique, voluntary community of financial sector regulatory agencies and banking associations from emerging markets committed to advancing sustainable finance in line with international good practice. The 40-member countries represent US$43 trillion (85 percent) of the total banking assets in emerging markets.

The idea for the SBN arose during the first International Green Credit Forum, hosted by IFC and the China Banking Regulatory Commission, in Beijing in May 2012, where banking regulators and associations from 10 countries requested that IFC facilitate a global knowledge network on sustainable banking. The Network was formally launched in September 2012.

SBN members are committed to moving their financial sectors towards sustainability, with the twin goals of improved ESG risk management (including disclosure of climate risks) and increased capital flows to activities with positive climate impact.  It is a platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building that facilitates the mobilization of practical support for members to design and implement national initiatives.

SBN Introductory Video [Video] | SBN Member Perspectives [Video]

What's New

Mongolian Sustainable Finance Association (MSFA) joins SBN [ Link]

Mongolia Sustainable Finance Association Translated the Mongolia Green Taxonomy into English to Enable Better International Exchange [ Link]

Colombia issued a Good Practice Guide and regulatory framework to promote the development of green bonds [Link]

The Financial Superintendence of Colombia Launched its Sustainable Finance Microsite [Link]

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Key Resources

SBN Background: May 2020 [PDF]

SBN Membership Map [PDF]

SBN Green Bond Toolkit [PDF]

SBN Measurement Infographic [PDF]

SBN Webinar Series [Link]

Financial Institutions: Resources, Solutions, and Tools (FIRST) [Link]


On the Radar

COVID-19 On the Radar [Link]

Colombia Central Bank issued “Climate change: policies to manage its macroeconomic and financial effects” [Link]

NGFS promotes environmental risk analysis in financial industry [Link]

World Bank Publishes a Guide on How to Develop a National Green Taxonomy for Emerging Markets [Link]

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SBN G20 Input Papers

Greening the Banking System: Experiences from the Sustainable Banking Network (SBN) [PDF]

Private Equity and Venture Capital’s Role in Catalyzing Sustainable Investment [PDF]

Greening Banks and Capital Markets for Growth [PDF]


Sustainable Banking Policies, Guidelines and Principles

As capital providers, banks are ideally placed to help the private sector adapt to new economic realities linked to environmental and social (E&S) sustainability – such as climate change, changing communities, and increased resource scarcity – and to contribute to national sustainable development agendas. However, for banks to effectively integrate new practices in E&S risk management and green and inclusive lending, they require an enabling regulatory context that ensures a level playing field and provides the right economic incentives.

With this in mind, a growing number of emerging market banking regulators have started to team up with partner agencies to pioneer the development of regulatory guidance that encourages local banks to adopt sustainable banking practices. This includes more effective management of E&S risks in the projects they finance and support for businesses that are greener, climate friendly and socially inclusive.

To date, 25 countries have launched national policies, guidelines, principles, or roadmaps focused on sustainable banking. They include Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. The SBN provides the  institutions a space to exchange experiences, gain knowledge, and collectively drive the sustainable finance agenda.


Network Activities

SBN Global Meetings are held every two years and are the principal space for dialogue, networking, and knowledge generation. A different member country, in cooperation with IFC, hosts the Global Meeting each time. SBN members also are invited to participate in IFC-hosted dialogue events and expert groups, such as the annual Performance Standards Community of Learning for financial institutions, which adopted the Equator Principles. These events provide members the opportunity to dialogue with leading worldwide commercial banks, and this interaction is strategic for developing regulatory guidance.

SBN has three member-led thematic working groups:

The SBN Measurement Working Group, established in 2016, responds to members’ needs for enhanced technical support to design and implement national initiatives and guidance. The 11 member countries and one regional network represent a spectrum of sustainable finance development. In 2017, the group convened member-wide discussions to identify critical components of national initiatives and guidance, to benchmark the findings against a set of common indicators, and to tease out success factors and gaps for improvement. In the process, the group innovated an approach to measure results. 

The SBN Measurement Framework assesses members’ national sustainable policies and principles against environmental, social, and governance integration; green and climate finance; and global alignment and maps countries across a progression matrix. The framework is agreed by all SBN members.

In 2019, the Measurement Working group launched the second Global Progress Report and 30 Country Reports:

In 2018, the Measurement Working group launched the first Global Progress Report and 10 Country Reports:


The Green Bond Working Group, established in 2017, responds to members’ interest in the global green bond trend and associated market opportunities. Working group members comprise representatives and observers from 21 countries and 30 organizations—including the International Capital Market Association. In 2018, the group undertook the most comprehensive assessment of green bond market developments to date in over 22 emerging markets and released a practical toolkit for SBN members in developing their own green, social, and sustainability bond markets.  

The SBN Green Bond Toolkit includes nine country case studies and a comparison of national frameworks from 11 SBN members as well as the regional framework of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Malaysia guidelines. Based on member experiences, it also articulates common objectives, a planning matrix, a roadmap, and a capacity-building needs assessment.

In 2018, the Green Bond Working Group launched the report, Creating the Green Bond Market – Insights, Innovations, and Tools from the Emerging Markets:


The SBN International Development Association (IDA) Task Force, established in 2018, responds to low-income members’ interests in finance for climate change. It aims to deepen the sustainable finance framework development and implementation in IDA member-countries. The task force constitutes 11 countries: three in advanced stages of implementing sustainable finance and eight at the outset of their journeys. 

The IDA Task Force aspires to raise environment, social, and governance risk management standards in financial markets, to mobilize financing, particularly from private sector, for climate change mitigation and adaptation in line with the Paris Agreement, and to support capital flows that deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. Private sector finance in emerging markets can make a substantial difference.


SBN Contact: SBN Secretariat –

Media Contact: Kathryn Graczyk –


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