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SLBA Sustainable Banking Initiative

SLBA SBI was inaugurated in late 2014 with funding and technical expertise from four EU Development Finance Agencies (DEG Germany, FMO Netherlands, Proparco France and Oe-EB Austria) to develop a banking sector framework for Sustainable Banking. This resulted in Sustainable Banking Principles, Implementation Guidelines and an E-Learning Platform that is in use by banks.

This framework of 11 Sustainable Banking Principles adopted by the 21 bank signatories, sits beneath the CBSL Road Map for Sustainable Development and Finance at the national level consisting of 9 broad principles.

SBI participates in the Inter-regulatory Committee on Sustainable Finance led by CBSL and provides input on how sustainable finance could be strengthened in the country. The SLBA SBI team also collaborates with the CBS in developing trainig and is now engaged with the CBSL in developing the taxonomy for sustainable finance / banking. 


Highlights on Progress of Sri Lanka Banks’ Association’s Sustainable Banking Initiative (SLBA SBI)

  • 21 out of 30 banks in Sri Lanka (that account for over 90% of banking sector assets in the country) are signatory to SLBA SBI
    • Pledging to implement 11 sustainable banking principles, which sets the minimum standards on safeguards and a platform for cooperation to promote the transition to a green economy.
    • In Nov. 2015, when initiative was launched, 18 banks subscribed to the initiative. By Feb. 2020, three more banks joined the initiative, making up the current 21 signatory banks.
  • Capacity building support available for banks:
    • Implementation guide on how sustainable banking practices could be operationalized
    • Local case studies on Environmental and Social Risks made available via public website
    • e-Learning Platform launched in October 2019 and currently being rolled out amongst signatory banks.
  • Support to CBSL in promoting Sustainable Finance:
    • Assisted CBSL in development of Sustainable Finance Roadmap for Sri Lanka
    • Assisting Center for Banking Studies in organizing training on sustainable finance
    • Assisting CBSL in formulating a national Sustainable Finance Taxonomy
  • Promoting International Cooperation and Capacity Building:
    • Jointly organizing awareness programs on sustainable finance with UN Financial Centers for Sustainability (FC4S) to position Sri Lanka as hub for Sustainable Finance in South Asia
    • Facilitating knowledge sharing between UNDP Finance Sector Hub and Central Bank of Sri Lanka
    • Facilitating engagement of EU and International Platform on Sustainable Finance with Central Bank of Sri Lanka
    • Jointly promoting Green Buildings and Green Mortgage product concept with UNEP-FI and Green Building Council of Sri Lanka
    • Supporting UNESCAP and ICC Sri Lanka in organizing national dialogues on Sustainable Finance
  • Platform for Engagement between Banking Sector and Real Economy
    • Dialogues organized on promoting sustainable agriculture through sustainable finance in collaboration with Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum
    • Engaging with IUCN on an HSBC sponsored work program to enhance Sustainable Finance for Apparel Sector.
    • Organizing joint dialogues between NGOs and insurance sector to explore climate or disaster risk transfer mechanisms.
  • Sustainable Finance
    • Exploring possibility of setting up a country level blended finance facility with support of EU
    • With support from ADB, 10 signatory banks of SLBA SBI have promoted rooftop solar financing from 2017 onwards with 2,081 Solar PV rooftop installation connected to the grid as at end of 2019, with an installed capacity of 23.5 Mw. Signatory banks are ready to support the goal of enabling 60Mw solar rooftop generation at the end of this ADB refinance scheme.
    • SBI member banks have also enabled investments in large renewable energy projects:
      • In 2016, 3 SLBA SBI members financed 10 Mw Ground Mounted Solar Project in Hambantota
      • In 2018, 3 SLBA SBI members financed 10 Mw Waste to Energy Power Plant in Muthurajawela
    • SBI member banks have also been financing climate smart agriculture (drip irrigation, protected houses, etc), electric and hybrid vehicles (through green leasing products)

‘SLBA the voice of banking in Sri Lanka’