Fair Finance Pakistan and the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry urged the State Bank of Pakistan to introduce compliance on green banking guidelines for public and private commercial banks to promote a green revolution in the country.
In a move to strengthen multi-stakeholder dialogue and action on sustainable finance in Pakistan, Fair Finance Pakistan organized its first roundtable meeting with Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industries on responsible banking in the country.
A joint communique was presented at the meeting which puts forward recommendations to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Finance Minister, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan and Chairperson, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan to play a more pro-active role in ensuring inclusive financing, especially for women.
The State Bank of Pakistan should lead policy development for all banks and financial institutions to contribute 0.5 percent of their paid-up capital for women entrepreneurs
Financial institutions and companies must guarantee at least 40 percent participation and equal access of women and men at a senior level position
Mohammad Nasir Mirza, President, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry made a strong commitment that the joint communique presents a holistic picture for the regulators and is a collective voice from the business community that this is the time for reform to nurture the business and harness the environment by the regulator.
During the roundtable, Fair Finance Pakistan presented the findings of “Strengthening Sustainable Finance in Pakistan: A scoping review towards institutionalizing Fair Finance Pakistan,” authored by Dr. Abid Aman Burki from Lahore University of Management Sciences.
The scoping review gave an analysis on financial inclusion in Pakistan which is at 21% compared to the State Bank’s ambitious goal of 50% by 2020.
Bernadette Victorio, Program Lead of Fair Finance Asia, said, “Pakistan is an important country for the energy transition in Asia. The Fair Finance Asia coalition calls on Asian and international financial institutions operating in the region to urgently stop coal financing and divert resources towards renewable energy in order to align with the Paris Agreement.”
Highlighting the importance of the Pakistan financial sector at the regional level, Hussain Jarwar, CEO of Indus Consortium and member of Fair Finance Pakistan said, “Fair Finance Pakistan will work as an ally to the financial sector in Pakistan, so that together, we can develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for sustainable finance in the country.”
The meeting featured a panel discussion with banking sector experts on consumer financing and responsible banking. Banking sector representatives shared their current policies of integrating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) guidelines in their operations at the strategic, portfolio and transaction levels.
A representative from the State Bank of Pakistan highlighted the importance of integrating the Bank’s Green Banking Guidelines to foster a culture of responsibility in the banking sector.
Speaking at the panel, Asim Jaffry, Program Lead, Fair Finance Pakistan said the regulator must shift voluntary reporting towards compliance for listed and non-listed companies.” He also added that collective bargaining must be given to the employees of the financial sector.
In the discussions, one of the women participants Sadia Naz, running a family dress designing boutique, said she was supported by State Bank’s Kamyab Jawan Programme and was provided Rs. 1 million that helped her to scale up her family business.
The meeting was well attended by over 50 members from the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, deputy chief from the State Bank of Pakistan, senior representatives from leading commercial banks including HBL, UBL, National Bank, Askari Bank, Meezan Bank, Faysal Bank, Bank of Punjab, First Women Bank, Apna officials from the Pakistan Banks’ Association and civil society organizations.