Of the SBN members, 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, Vietnam. More detailed information about the existing guidance can be accessed below.
Environmental Risk Management Guidelines were introduced in January 2011 by Bangladesh Bank, in collaboration with local banks and other stakeholders. Mandatory Environmental Risk Management Guidelines were launched in 2012. The Guidelines enable banks and FIs to consider environmental issues in a structured way in their overall credit appraisal processes.
Policy Guidelines for Green Banking were issued in February 2011 to address policy and governance of green banking. The Guidelines cover the incorporation of environmental risk management in credit management, in-house environmental management, green financing, climate risk fund, green marketing, online banking, training, research and development in green banking, sector-specific environmental policies, green strategic planning, green bank branches, bank-specific ERM plans, innovative products, and sustainability reporting.
Bangladesh Bank issued updated Guidelines on ESRM for banks and FIs in Bangladesh along with an E&S Risk Assessment Tool and SFD Circular No. 02/2017 on February 8, 2017. The updated guidelines include social issues and measurement tools:
On December 30th, 2020, Bangladesh Bank issued its Sustainable Finance Policy for Banks and Financial Institutions (FIs). The Policy includes guidance and a template for reporting as well as a sustainable finance taxonomy, green taxonomy, and a sustainability rating system for Banks and Financial Institutions.
Voluntary Green Protocols on sustainable banking were first adopted by five Brazilian state-owned banks in 2008 and then by commercial banks in 2009, facilitated and supported by the Brazilian banking association, FEBRABAN, and the Ministry of Environment.
Between 2008 and 2011, the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) issued a series of industry-specific and thematic green banking regulations, including on the protection of the Amazon Biome, sugar cane investments, slave labor, and internal capital adequacy assessment process (ICAAP).
In 2014, BCB published a mandatory Resolution on Social and Environmental Responsibility for Financial Institutions. The Resolution strengthens E&S risk management and introduces the concept of relevance and proportionality of E&S risks. It requires banks to develop and execute a Social and Environmental Responsibility Policy, aimed at managing E&S risks, preventing losses from both environmental damages and social issues, and engaging with affected stakeholders.
In September 2016, Cambodia launched the Cambodian Sustainable Finance Initiative, which aims to establish best practices and educate its members on sustainable banking practices. The Association of Banks in Cambodia has committed to developing a set of sustainable finance principles in partnership with the National Bank of Cambodia and the Ministry of the Environment. These principles will ultimately lead to the design of voluntary industry environmental and social lending standards, which will be embedded in local bank policies.
On March 29, 2019, the Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC), together with the Cambodia Microfinance Association, launched the Cambodia Sustainable Finance Principles and its Implementation Guidelines - a voluntary framework to help banks integrate sustainability considerations into lending operations. Some 47 ABC members signed up to the principles, with endorsement of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE), underlining the Cambodian banking sector’s strong commitment to the national sustainable development agenda.
In 2012, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) issued the Green Credit Guidelines, providing clear operational guidance to implement green banking in three aspects: E&S risk management, green lending products and services, and greening banks’ own operations. CBRC further introduced the Green Credit Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in 2015 to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of green banking.
In terms of green loan origination, CBRC launched the Green Credit Statistics System in 2014. Green credit loans are classified into 12 categories with sub-categories. A tool has also been developed for banks to calculate the environmental benefits from green credit lending, including reduction in carbon emissions, water pollution (chemical oxygen demand (COD)), and savings on water use.
China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) launched Guidance Notes to Strengthen Risk Management for Chinese Banks Investing Abroad. Environmental and social risk management is one of the 7 components of the regulatory guidance, alongside credit risk, country risk and compliance risk management. The Guidance Notes require Chinese banks to pay special attention to E&S risk management in project finance and trade finance, with a focus on energy, resources, agri-business, and large infrastructure projects, including engineering contracting. See related link.
Launched in 2012, the Colombia Green Protocol is a voluntary set of guidelines developed by the banking association, Asobancaria, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. Based on an initial series of roundtables led by the different banks involved, the Green Protocol was signed by the President of Colombia, Asobancaria and 12 banks, including the major commercial and development banks.
The Colombian Banking Association, Asobancaria, launched the “General Guidelines for the Implementation of Environmental and Social Risk Analysis” in November 2016. The guidelines, launched by Asobancaria and the Green Protocol, are the result of interdisciplinary work between public and private entities, interested in generating good practice standards for environmental and socials risk management in the banking sector. Read the guidelines here. (Spanish only)
On September 2020, the Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia (SFC, the Financial Superintendence of Colombia), with IFC and World Bank support, published a Good Practice Guide for Issuing Green Bonds on how to comply with the highest standards of transparency.
The SFC also issued External Circular 028 of 2020 through which it incorporates the definition of Green Bond in the issuance of securities and provides instructions on the minimum information that the prospects for issuance of these bonds in the country should contemplate.
The Banking Association of Ecuador, Asobancos, launched the "Sustainable Banking Protocol" in November 2016, with 10 signatory banks that represent more than 80% of the market share and with the participation and support of IFC/SBN. The signatory banks voluntarily committed to work towards setting a sustainability governance, offering green financial services and products, implementing eco-efficiency programs and putting in place Environmental and Social Risk Management Systems.
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) launched the Roadmap for Sustainable Finance in Georgia on April 10, 2019. The Roadmap summarizes all possible changes that the NBG intends to implement regarding the sustainable finance development in the near future with the corresponding timeframe. The ultimate goal of this roadmap is to provide a credible, predictable and stable regulatory framework and prepare the market for transitioning to sustainable finance. It aims to support incorporation of sustainability issues into decision-making by providing coherent and consistent actions and allowing time for the system to adapt.
In November 2019, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) launched the Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles (SBPs) to provide the guiding principles to underpin effective Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) policy frameworks for banks.
The Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles and the Sector Guidance Notes reflect a process-led initiative to take account of the environmental considerations, social inclusion and good governance in the lending decision-making by banks in Ghana. It is also a guide to the banks in mainstreaming the fundamental tenets of sustainability in their business and operations, leading to enhanced growth and increased returns.
Recognizing the need for an integrated and robust response from the financial sector, while at the same time improving the resilience and competitiveness of financial services institutions, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), the Indonesia Financial Services Authority, launched a Sustainable Finance Roadmap in December 2014. The roadmap enlists the financial sector under OJK supervision, including banking, capital market, and non-bank financial institutions (such as insurance companies, leasing companies and pension funds) to contribute to the national commitment to address climate change – including mitigation, adaptation and the transition to a competitive low carbon economy.
On July 12, 2017, OJK released the Sustainable Finance Umbrella Policy to provide guidance to the whole financial system in Indonesia. The Policy covers:
Under the new regulation, financial institutions are required to submit an annual plan to OJK on implementation of sustainable finance. These plans can cover:
Additionally, banks and other financial institutions must submit a sustainability report annually to ensure monitoring and accountability of the new requirements.
In December 2018 the Indonesia Financial Service Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan -OJK) issued the Technical Guidelines for Banks on the Implementation of Sustainable Finance in Indonesia
The Kenya banking industry, through the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), adopted the Sustainable Finance Guiding Principles during the 2nd CEO Roundtable on Sustainable Finance held in March 2015. KBA is now working with banks to ensure they have the capacity and resources to implement the Principles. Towards this end, KBA has developed an innovative e-Learning platform (sfi.kba.co.ke) for the industry.
Mexico led efforts to establish "Inclusive Green Growth" as a priority area for the G20 development agenda under the Mexican G20 Presidency in 2012. This was taken forward by subsequent G20 presidencies and resulted in the launch of the GreenInvest initiative in June 2015. ABM has led a voluntary industry approach to sustainable banking in Mexico through the development of a "Sustainability Protocol", which has been signed to date by 19 FIs.
The Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA), representing all Mongolian banks, launched the Mongolia Sustainable Finance Principles and Sector Guidelines in December 2014, which took effect in January 2015. All participating banks have since developed internal E&S policies and procedures and have hired full-time E&S staff. The sector guidelines provide guidance to participating banks on how to assess potential E&S risks and opportunities in the agriculture, mining, manufacturing and construction sectors, and assess the ability of clients to manage E&S issues. They include guidance on E&S risk rating criteria for assessing and categorizing risks, and encourage adoption of relevant industry international standards and best practices. The development and launch of the Principles are a result of joint effort and consensus building across the Mongolian banking industry, led by MBA, with support from the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, and the Bank of Mongolia.
Morocco Morocco’s Central Bank, Bank Al-Maghrib (BKAM), together with the banking association and 5 other financial regulators, launched its “Roadmap for Aligning the Moroccan Financial Sector with Sustainable Development” in November 2016 during COP22. This roadmap has capitalized on the best international practices and revolves around five major themes: Extending risk-based governance to socio-environmental risks; Developing sustainable financial instruments and products; Promoting financial inclusion as a driving force for sustainable development; Capacity-building; Ensuring market transparency and discipline. Each of these axes is broken down by sector: banking, insurance, capital markets and the Casablanca Financial Center (CFC). To strengthen the African regional cooperation, Morocco also launched “Roadmap of the Moroccan financial sector for the emergence of sustainable finance in Africa”. Also during COP22, the Moroccan Capital Market Authority launched the “Green Bond Guide”. BKAM launched the first Corporate Social Responsibility Report which documented the first Sustainable Finance Event organized in partnership with IFC/SBN and UNEP FI in 2015. Read the full documents here.
Nepal released the “Guideline on Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) for Banks and Financial Institutions” on May 28, 2018. The ESRM guidelines launched by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) set down standards for the identification, assessment, and management of E&S risks. Hydropower-related E&S criteria have been given special attention, given the country’s reliance on this form of energy. The guidelines also provide a reporting template for all banks to report to NRB on sustainability performance. Nepal Rastra Bank started its journey towards a sustainable banking system in 2014 when it joined the IFC-supported Sustainable Banking Network (SBN). The ESRM guidelines have been drafted by experts at IFC and NRB using global standards, including IFC’s Performance Standards and Equator Principles, and finalized through a long process of consultations with bankers’ associations and development partners.
The Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles were launched by the Nigerian Banker’s Committee in July 2012. Thirty four financial institutions committed to their implementation. With the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to supervise the implementation of the Principles (and Sector Guidelines), the adoption of the Principles (and Sector Guidelines) has become quasi-mandatory.
In 2013, the Central Bank introduced a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism to guide and monitor the implementation of the Principles. Banks are required to provide preliminary once-off reports on policies and systems, as well as baseline data collection, followed by bi-annual reporting on indicators organized according to the nine principles.
Pakistan released Green Banking Guidelines on October 9, 2017. The State Bank of Pakistan has taken a phased approach whereby the Guidelines will be complimented by relevant tools and additions subsequently. The first phase (12 months) require banks to formulate policies and procedures and have proper capacity building initiatives in the bank as per the requirements. Currently the Guideline covers Environmental and Social Risk in lending, financing green projects and reducing the banks’ carbon footprint. The mandatory Guidelines are intended to level the playing field in E&S risk management and stimulate green financing.
Panama Banking Association (ABP) launched the Sustainable Finance Protocol of Panama in 2018. This Protocol consists of five components: Governance, Environmental and Social Risks, Green Products, Eco-efficiency, and Disclosure.
Paraguay’s Central Bank approved a Guide for Environmental and Social risk management in November 2018, to be integrated within the credit risk analysis of financial institutions. For this effort, the Central Bank partnered with key organizations such as the Roundtable for Sustainable Finance and the Banking Association from Paraguay.
The Superintendency of Banking, Insurance and Private Pension Fund Administrators (SBS) launched the Regulation for Social and Environmental Risk Management (see English translation) in March 2015. The Regulation aims to establish minimal requirements for social an environmental risk management in order to encourage financial institutions to implement the best practices and prudent decision-making process. SBS also released the Role of Enhanced Due Diligence in the Regulation of Socioenvironmental Risk Management for Financial Firms (see English translation) to explain the key features of the regulation.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, issued the country's first Sustainable Financial Framework in April 2020, 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.
The Banking Association South Africa introduced voluntary Principles for managing Environmental and Social Risk in 2014. These principles recognize the role that financial institutions can play in the protection, promotion and fulfilment of social, economic and environmental rights in South Africa by conducting and reporting on their operations, business, lending and investing practices in a sustainable manner. As responsible corporate citizens members commit themselves to these Principles.
The South Africa National Treasury released a technical paper of Financing A Sustainable Economy. This National Treasury technical paper defines Sustainable Finance for the South African context and articulates a shared vision for its implementation. It recommends future policy actions to promote the achievement of a more sustainable economy and industry actions for identifying, understanding and acting on environmental and social (E&S) risks that impact on the safety, soundness and stability of the financial sector.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka launched a Roadmap for Sustainable Finance in Sri Lanka on 10 April 2019 at the Sustainable Banking Network Global Meeting of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington, D.C, USA. This Roadmap provides a broad direction to financial regulators and financial institutions to effectively manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks associated with projects they finance and help increase assistance to businesses that are greener, climate-friendly and socially inclusive.
Thailand Sustainable Banking guidelines were released by the Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA) on August 13, 2019. The guidelines define the minimum expectations on responsible lending practices for all banks based in Thailand. The members of TBA may adopt higher standards, frameworks or practices that are in line with their sustainability strategies. This document serves as a guidance for banks to establish a responsible lending strategy to manage their environmental and social (E&S) impacts and risks. The strategy includes, but not limited to, developing robust lending policies that incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria, and establishing effective internal controls along with transparent disclosures. Banks are encouraged to use their best efforts to implement the guidelines.
Turkish banks have followed a market-led route to sustainable banking, aligning with national goals as well as international principles and good practice. In 2014, the Banks Association of Turkey (BAT) issued voluntary Sustainability Guidelines for the banking Sector. The Guidelines were prepared by a BAT working group on the Role of the Financial Sector in Sustainable Growth, with the participation of 18 banks.
The State Bank of Vietnam issued a Circular (39/2016/TT-NHNN) dated December 30, 2016, in which one of the main lending principles defined is that the customers and the applied transactions need to comply with environmental laws and regulations. This new regulation will enhance the Directive on ESRM and Green Finance issued in 2015 by the SBV Governor, and will contribute to the ongoing efforts to promote a greener and more sustainable economy in Vietnam.
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) issued a Directive in March 2015 to promote green credit and sustainability risk management by banks. The Directive requests all financial institutions operating in Vietnam to set up an environmental and social risk management (ESRM) system, as well as to develop innovative products to enable lending to environmentally and socially friendly business activities.