‘Green Banking way to sustainable economic growth’
Speakers at a workshop observed that green banking can be an avenue to reduce pollution and save the environment aiding sustainable economic growth.
They said banking sector is a major source of financing for commercial projects which is one of the indicators of economic growth recently.
These observations came at a workshop on green banking organised by Bank Asia Ltd in the city marking the World Environment Day, said a press release. Md Mehmood Husain, president and managing director of the Bank, inaugurated the workshop which was conducted by Dr Shah Md Ahsan Habib, professor and director (Training) of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM).
Launching the event, Mehmud Husain highlighted how the developed countries are embracing initiatives that are conducive to the environment in order to ensure well-being of the future generation. He said Banks play a critical role in economic development and they are well equipped to undertake Green Banking activities. He reiterated that Banks should finance the sectors that would ensure sustainable and eco-friendly environment.
Senior officials of different branches of the Bank located in Dhaka city and Chittagong Zonal Office participated in the workshop. At the workshop, Dr Ahsan Habib provided a cognitive understanding of the concept of Green Banking and highlighted the role of NGOs, banks and financial institutions (FIs) in the evolution of Green Banking policies and practices. He underscored the importance of taking such initiatives by the country’s banks and FIs.
Green Banking is a multi-stakeholders’ endeavour where banks have to work closely with government, NGOs, IFIs/IGOs, central bank, consumers and business communities to reach the goal. Green Initiatives by banks include internal environment management, environmental financing/product ecology, environmental disclosure and reporting, formulating and adopting principles and promoting other stakeholders.
The speakers observed that regulatory enforcement by the government, pressure from the civil society and consumers, voluntary supports and responses by the business entities are preconditions to create a congenial atmosphere. A framework of incentives for responsible banks and disincentives for pollutants is an essential element for the development of green banking.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank issued policy guidelines for developing Green Banking practices and Environmental Risk Management and circulars to handle climate change.
Now the central bank needs to play a proactive role in guiding green banking initiatives, the speakers said.
They said the country’s banks may work collectively and move forward by undertaking voluntary initiatives.
Financing environment-friendly projects will also help the financial institutions to avert legal, reputation, security and credit risks, they pointed out.
At present a growing number of banks have been assessing environmental risk while selecting projects for financing.
In the concluding session of the workshop, Md Touhidul Alam Khan, SEVP, Head of Corporate Assets and Client Origination and Team Leader of Green Banking Unit of Bank Asia, highlighted the activities undertaken by the bank and briefed on future course of actions. He informed that Bank Asia has taken a number of initiatives regarding the implementation of environmental policies, strategies and programmes in the area of Green Banking activities.
The Bank has conducted activities related to in-house environment management, financed a number of environment-friendly projects, created climate risk fund, utilised online banking facility to serve the clients through alternative delivery channels and has also arranged workshops/ training for capacity building and awareness.
The Daily Independent/Bangladesh/ 12th June 2012