Financial intermediary system is responsible for environmental sustainability

By Axel  Reiserer

Green Bond Principles: Second Annual Conference

Financial and environmental risks interact with each other. Central banks and financial supervisory authorities have an increasing responsibility to develop a sustainable and climate-friendly financial system, as was pointed out at the International Green Finance Conference, which was organised jointly by the Hungarian National Bank (MNB) and the EBRD in Budapest today. The conference was also attended by international financial institutions, central banks, supervisory authorities and market participants from Europe and Asia.

Environmental and financial risks interact with each other. This is why slowing climate change is vital for financial stability, which market participants and regulatory and supervisory authorities must support with their own means, said György Matolcsy, Governor of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB).

Irene Heemskerk, Senior Policy Advisor on Climate Risks and Sustainability of the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), stressed the importance of central banks and final supervisory authorities protecting the climate.

Csaba Kandrács, Deputy Governor of the MNB and responsible for supervision, summarised the Hungarian central bank’s planned measures to make the financial system greener.

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director, Financial Institutions, pointed out that rising up to the challenges posed by climate change cannot be achieved by public money alone. It will require cooperation among many stakeholders, resolute regulatory action, as well as mobilising private sector investments – an area in which the EBRD has ample experience.

At the event, senior managers of the region’s leading banking groups made presentations on, among other things, opportunities to lend that serve environmental sustainability. Representatives of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the International Institute of Green Finance, Beijing, highlighted the efforts that have been made in the area of green finance in Europe and China. Foreign and Hungarian fund managers discussed new environmentally and socially responsible investment opportunities that meet environmental, social and governance criteria.

More than 250 participants representing central banks attended the conference, among whom were the financial supervisory authorities of 13 countries, including Austria, The Netherlands, Poland and Germany. Other representatives included the EBRD, the European Central Bank, the EIB, the Global Green Growth Institute and the Asian Financial Cooperation Association. Representatives from the Hungarian banking sector, foreign credit institutions, credit rating agencies, the Office of the President of the Republic of Hungary, the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology and the Fiscal Council of Hungary, which represented the state, were also present.

As part of the programme, a seminar for the central banks and supervisory authorities in central and eastern Europe was organised under the guidance of the NGFS. Participants discussed the responsibilities of supervisors and central banks related to climate risks and opportunities for future international cooperation.

In collaboration with WWF Hungary, the MNB plans to offset the environmental impact associated with the conference with a complex, long-term investment in the ecological restoration of habitats.