The Bank of Ghana (BoG) says it is currently working to promote sustainability principles across the banking industry, with a draft guidelines and principles almost ready to be deployed.
According to Dr Johnson Asiamah, second Deputy Governor of the BoG, the working group established two years ago to work on developing the guidelines and principles for the banking sector to ensure the incorporation of sustainability principles had almost finished its work and would be rolled out by first quarter 2018.
He was speaking during a panel discussion on ‘Facilitating a Conducive Environment for the Growth of Green Finance and Green Energy’, at the Green Financing Conference, organised by the African Guarantee Fund (AGF), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), in Accra on Tuesday.
“Hopefully that will facilitate and promote the principles of sustainable banking across the industry,” he said, adding that the principles will seek to ensure that sustainability or environmental issues are factored into all aspects of banks’ core operations as well as the whole gamut of their lending activities.
He noted, however, that the Central Bank will not necessarily make the application of the principles mandatory but will rather use moral persuasion to convince banks to adopt and apply them in their operations.
He said Bank also recognised the scarcity of dedicated sources of funds for lending to Green businesses, that is, businesses whose activities are climate and green-growth oriented and was currently working on some specialised lending schemes to be managed by the Bank and which can be accessed by commercial banks and administered to qualifying businesses in an attempt to provide for environmental risks.
Mr Lambert Faabeluon, Chief Programme Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency, said the EPA used two approaches to promote a green industry; compliance promotion and compliance enforcements, which worked hand-in-hand to ensure a green industry.
He said there were currently some industries which were completely green, using only renewable sources of energy for their operations but added that there was the need to support existing industries to go green.
He bemoaned the gap between the goal of encouraging green businesses and policy measures which challenged pollution prevention. These included the lack of incentives for the importation of climate-efficient equipment, as well as lack of policies to prevent the importation of old pollution equipment.
Mr Faabeluon urged government to provide tax incentives for environmental sustainability to encourage businesses to go green.