Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday launched the Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles and Sector Guidance notes, to ensure that banks engaged in proactive environmental protection programmes, social justice to promote socio-economic development.
He announced that there was US$47 trillion financing package available for banks globally, to access funds for the implementation of climate change resilient measures outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on climate change and the COP 23.
He assured of government’s commitment to continue implementing climate change measures and green economy programmes, which would promote clean environment, increase job creation and accelerate poverty reduction.
The principles are drafted to meet global standards, which would be initially applied to universal banks and subsequently broadened to include; rural banks, savings and loans institutions, and microfinance institutions so that their operations will promote clean and environmental sustainability.
At the launch of the Sustainable Banking Principles and Guidance Notes in Accra, Vice President Bawumia lauded the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Ghana Association of Bankers (GAB) and the Environmental Protection Agency EPA) for spearheading the development of the seven principles for the banking sector in Ghana.
He also applauded the Sustainability Steering Committee, comprising representatives from the BoG, GAB and EPA for working tirelessly to draft the document.
Dr Bawumia said environmental risk arising from climate change constituted a significant systemic risk for the financial sector and could negatively affect economic and financial stability, and the safety and soundness of financial firms.
He said studies showed that between five and seven trillion dollars was required annually, to implement the 17 SDGs globally, while developing countries estimated to face an annual investment gap of about US$2.5 trillion to roll out programmes in infrastructural development, clean energy, water and sanitation and agriculture.
The Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Ernest Addison, in an address, said the document would enable banks to undertake robust environmental risk policy management with long-term safety on the environment.
He mentioned areas that the Principles would provide guidance as oil and gas, power and energy and manufacturing and, therefore, applauded the Sustainability Steering Committee, which was established in 2015 for supporting the development of the document.
Mr Charles Adu Boahen, a Deputy Minister of Finance, expressed the Ministry of Finance’s commitment to support Ghanaian banks to implement programmes that would ensure sustainable growth, clean environment, create jobs and prosperity for all.
He said the Ministry would continue to promote and implement sound policies to maintain the stability of the macro economy, in order to achieve the SDGs.