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KARACHI: Speakers at a research study launch have said that banks, by responsible funding, can curtail pollution and improve the environment, as fossil-fuel-based projects were badly affecting the atmosphere.

This was said at the launch of the study “In-depth analysis of Green Banking Guidelines of the State Bank of Pakistan” Monday at NED University premises. Department of Economics and Management Sciences, NED University has conducted this study in collaboration with Indus Consortium.

Addressing the ceremony, the Head of the study group and Chairman Department of Economics and Management Sciences NED University, Dr Raza Ali Khan, said that the purpose of green banking guidelines was to create environment-friendly banking and give importance to the quality of life and society.

“Banking has an effective impact on the environment, as they are providing loans for the energy projects’ development. They can play a significant role to curtail pollution and improve the environment by limiting their funding the renewable energy projects.”

He said that as academics or policymakers their job was to present recommendations only. “Sometimes they are adopted in policies, sometimes they are ignored.” He said that policies were adopted on a political basis, and the politicians were considering policies for a short term of five years only.

CEO of Indus Consortium Hussain Jarwar said that civil society organizations were getting the research studies done by individuals, which were not worthwhile, as it was work of the professional researchers and academia.

He said Indus Consortium was collaborating with 30 major universities in Pakistan including NED in the development of research studies. He said the energy sector alone was responsible for more than 50 percent of emissions of greenhouse gases and Thar coal development was one of the largest examples in Pakistan.

Mirza Faizan Ahmed, a research associate and assistant professor at the department of economics and management sciences, said that NED University was now being recognized in providing education in allied departments including finance and economics as well.

He said the State Bank of Pakistan had issued green banking guidelines in 2016-17 with the SBP, commercial banks and renewable energy developers as its stakeholders. However, the environmental aspect is the least prioritized in the public and private sectors. “We need to motivate industry to implement these guidelines,” he said.

The study’s research associate and teacher Shabbir Ahmed Baqai presented the findings of the study. He said that out of 32 commercial banks in the country, 18 banks have taken some initiative towards the implementation of the guidelines. Analysis has focused on Habib Bank Limited as a model, which was disbursing more than 40 percent of funds out of total energy project development funding.

The SBP issued the Green Banking Guidelines (GBG) in 2017 intending to transform the country’s economy and acknowledged the role of the financial sector towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. It helps bring awareness among investors, and the banking industry to make its infrastructure, operations, investments, and products sustainable.

The guidelines provide details about the responsibilities, management, and organization for the GBG implementation and construct three themes to work upon. These include environmental risk management, green business facilitation, and own impact reduction. The key stakeholders of the guidelines are the SBP, Banks / DFIs, and Customers / RE developers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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