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The Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN) is an informal and exclusive group of banking regulators and associations that are interested in sustainable banking policies, guidelines and practices. Its main objective is to facilitate the collective learning of its members and to support them in policy development to create drivers for sustainable finance practices.

The idea for the SBFN arose during the Beijing International Green Credit Forum in May 2012, where participants from 12 countries requested that the International Finance Corporation facilitate a knowledge network for banking regulators and associations. The Network was formally launched in September 2012.

The network is entirely voluntary and participating regulators and banking associations have the freedom to involve to the extent that suits their purposes. A defining characteristic of the network is the practicality and openness with which regulators are collaborating to share knowledge.

Sustainable Banking policies and guidelines

As capital providers, financial institutions (FIs) are ideally placed to help the private sector adapt to new economic realities, such as under climate change scenarios, and to contribute to national sustainability agendas. However, for banks to effectively shift to sustainable banking practices, they require an enabling regulatory context that ensures a level playing field and provides the right economic incentives.

With this in mind, a number of emerging market banking regulators have started to team up with partner agencies to pioneer the development of regulatory guidance that encourages local banks to adopt sustainable banking practices. This includes more effective management of environmental and social risks in the projects they finance, and support for businesses that are greener, climate friendly and socially inclusive.

To date, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Colombia and Nigeria have issued such guidelines for banks. Indonesia, Peru and Vietnam are in the process of developing guidelines. The SBN gives the institutions that are working on these initiatives a space to exchange experience, gain knowledge, and collectively drive the agenda of sustainable banking forward.

Network Activities

The Annual SBFN meetings, implemented since 2012, are the principal space for dialogue, networking and knowledge generation. These conferences are hosted by a different member country each time and have been implemented in cooperation with the IFC. Furthermore, regulators are invited to participate in IFC-hosted dialogue events and expert groups, such as the annual Performance Standards Community of Learning gathering for financial institutions that have adopted the Equator Principles. These events provide the opportunity for dialogue with leading commercial banks worldwide, which plays a crucial role in the development of regulatory guidance.


Donors and partners that are supporting the Sustainable Banking and Finance Network and its activities include the German Agency for Development Cooperation (GIZ), on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the government of Japan through the Ministry of Finance, and the government of Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).



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