The COP 21 Agreement signed in Paris by 185 Countries in 2015 marked a turning point in the scale of sustainable finance. Since then, particularly in Europe, we witnessed a joint commitment of governments, regulators, international organizations, private sector and, not least, financial institutions in fighting against climate change and contributing to a sustainable economy.
This is also true in Luxembourg where the government and the financial center’s ecosystem have been working together in a dedicated Task Force contributing to the international fight against climate change and promoting Luxembourg’s role as an international center for climate finance.
“Undoubtedly, banks have a major role to play in the financing of the economy given their unique position in collecting, transforming and channeling the available liquidity to borrowers as well as managing the associated risks to the benefit of financial stability.”
At the same time, financing sustainable projects requires an effective public-private cooperation and an alignment of public strategies with the needs of the private sector.
“In this context, the ABBL is very eager to support its members in contributing to a sustainable economy and the transition to a more sustainable financial system.”
Our recent “sustainable finance survey” conducted among our members (51 answers collected, representing the main financial institutions in Luxembourg), revealed that:
- The vast majority (85%) of financial institutions who answered the questionnaire already incorporate social and environmental elements in their vision and strategy and are signatory of global / local sustainability initiatives
- More than 65% of respondent banks offer green finance to their clients (responsible investment funds, microfinance, sustainable investment management)
- The main reasons for adopting sustainable finance are mainly linked to brand recognition (76%), stakeholder requirements (64%) and shareholder requirements (64%)
- There are still some barriers Luxembourg banks have to face in order to introduce sustainable finance into their service offering: lack of profitability (25%), lack of policy (25%) and length of payback period (25%). Interestingly enough, 25% of the respondents also declared that they do not see any barriers in this sense (25%)
- On the client side, banks are experiencing a growing appetite for green products (28%)
- Respondents also expressed their interest in the creation of a special working group dedicated to sustainable finance (60%)
As a result, the ABBL board decided last November to establish a working group in order to bring together and combine all the professional expertise and experience present in the Luxembourg financial centre for:
- Defining an ABBL global strategy in the field of sustainable finance (identification of priorities and concrete projects)
- Contributing to the work done at European level as well as locally
- Establishing a platform to share views and opinions
- Promotion: raising awareness
- Education: providing training courses
Bearing in mind that protecting, financing and contributing to the future generation interests starts today!
By Fabio Mandorino, Adviser, Commercial & Private Banking – ABBL