Mexico City, March 15th, 2016—The
International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group,
and the Latin American Banking Federation Federación Latinoamericana
de Bancos, FELABAN] announced an agreement to promote sustainable financing
in the region’s banking sector and assist banks with identifying business
opportunities related to sustainability.
The agreement will enable FELABAN and IFC
to promote knowledge generation and capacity building that allows banks
to create sustainable financing programs, to leverage IFC global experience
in sustainable banking, and to make use of the different tools available
to finance environmentally-friendly projects and build environmental and
social risk management systems that are aligned with international best
FELABAN Secretary General Giorgio Trettenero
stated that “Latin American banks are aware of the need to incorporate
sustainability into their operations—from supplying products that meet
the needs of clients seeking business efficiency to ensuring the application
of international best practices to environmental and social risk management.
In that regard, this new agreement with IFC will pave the way for FELABAN
to play a very important role in those efforts.”
The agreement will leverage the experience
of the Sustainable Banking Network (SBN), an exclusive group of banking
regulators and associations interested in promoting sustainable banking
practices, facilitated by IFC. The idea for the SBN arose at the International
Green Credit Forum in 2012, where 12 countries requested that IFC facilitate
a knowledge network for banking regulators and associations. The SBN develops
standards, policies, and guidelines to improve the environmental and social
practices of the banking systems in their member countries.
Irene Arias, Global Director for the Financial
Institutions Group at IFC, stated that “sustainable financing is becoming
increasingly important in the region and our partnership with FELABAN will
facilitate the sharing of IFC experience and, in so doing, will ensure
leadership by the Latin American banking sector in sustainable banking.
We need to make a contribution to a green revolution in the region’s banking
system. This, we believe, represents a solid first step.”
Sustainable financing allows banks to seek
and develop new business opportunities in an overlooked and little-known
area but one that is increasingly becoming a strategic focus of Latin American
countries. The implementation of good practices allows banks to expand
their services, serve new markets, and respond to the needs of their clients
while assessing and paying attention to the risks and benefits of their
investments and loans and supporting the achievement of the goals of the
countries in which they operate, as well as their economies.
The number of countries that have frameworks
to promote sustainable financing has, at the global level, increased rapidly
in recent years. In Latin America, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay,
and Brazil have launched a variety of voluntary and regulatory initiatives
to promote sustainable financing.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is
the largest global development institution focused on the private sector
in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create opportunities where
they are needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing
countries stood at nearly US$18 billion, helping the private sector play
a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared
prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
The Latin American Banking Federation, FELABAN,
is a non-profit institution established in 1965 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
It brings together, through its respective associations in 19 countries
on the continent, more than 623 banks and financial institutions in Latin
America. Its objectives include promoting and facilitating contact, understanding,
and direct relations among Latin American financial institutions and seeking
to contribute, through its technical services, to the coordination of guidelines
and the harmonization of banking and financial customs and practices in
general in the region. For more information, visit www.felaban.net.