ASEAN central banks agree on sustainable banking agenda

February 10, 2021|Written by Hilal Atici

Finance ministers and central bank governors of ASEAN nations have agreed on a common sustainable banking agenda, with recommendations for central banks and monetary authorities to develop sustainable central banking practices.

The agenda, announced in a joint statement, makes seven recommendations. These include central bank communication strategy and leadership, a roadmap of policy action to support ASEAN sustainable growth, and “the communication of ASEAN common interests and unique circumstances”.

Other recommendations cover the development of a framework to encourage banks to embed sustainability into their business practices, and a feasibility study of a common data collection framework. All of the recommendations are non-binding.

The ASEAN central banks will also work towards developing a set of sustainable banking principles, to be published later in 2020. There is recognition, however, that banks are in the early stages of understanding climate risk and how they might contribute to emissions reductions.

The new agenda on sustainable banking is a part of ongoing regional sustainability efforts by finance ministers and central bank governors. However, the agenda falls short of the recommendations of climate advocacy organisations.

A comprehensive 2018 report from the WWF and the National University of Singapore found “general misalignment of finance sector guidelines and regulations with national policies on sustainable development and climate change across ASEAN”.

This page was last updated April 23, 2021

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