Belgrade, Serbia, November 18, 2020—The Association of Serbian Banks (ASB), an organization which gathers all banks operating in Serbia and the Belgrade Stock Exchange, joined the IFC-supported Sustainable Banking Network (SBN), a community of financial sector regulatory agencies and industry associations from emerging markets committed to advancing sustainable finance.
With this development, the Serbian financial sector made an important first step toward sustainability and improved management of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks. Good ESG practices are core to the sustainable, long-term success of companies and positive private sector development outcomes.
"ASB welcomes the opportunity to act in partnership with International Finance Corporation, SBN, and fellow SBN members to support the development of national frameworks and exchange of good practice in helping financial institutions manage environmental and social risks and opportunities. ASB is committed to national and regional progress in sustainable finance", said Vladimir Vasic, Secretary General of Association of Serbian Banks.
SBN's 41 member-countries represent US$43 trillion (86 percent) of the total banking assets in emerging markets. SBN members are transforming their financial sectors towards sustainability, with the twin goals of improved ESG risk management (including disclosure of climate risks) and increased capital flows to activities with positive climate impact. The network provides a critical platform for knowledge sharing and capacity building among SBN members to help facilitate the design and implementation of national sustainable finance initiatives.
"We are very pleased to see the ASB join the Sustainable Banking Network. The SBN will provide invaluable knowledge and experience-sharing that will help the Serbian banking sector better manage the risks linked to climate change and channel credit to the upcoming opportunities created by Serbia's green transition, supporting the jobs of the future", said Ary Naim, IFC Regional Manager for Central and Southeast Europe. "This is particularly relevant in the context of COVID-19 recovery".
ASB's joining to SBN was made possible by the Promoting Investment through Integrated ESG Standards Program, implemented by IFC in partnership with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO. One of Program's objectives is to improve financial sector efficiency through building sustainable financial markets that integrate ESG factors into capital allocation. It also encourages and facilitates participation in the SBN.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
SBN is a unique, voluntary community of financial sector regulatory agencies and banking associations from emerging markets committed to advancing sustainable finance in line with international good practice. The 41 member-countries represent US$43 trillion (86 percent) of the total banking assets in emerging markets. IFC is the Secretariat and technical advisor to SBN. For more information, visit www.ifc.org/sbn.
About Association of Serbian Banks
Members of the Association of Serbian Banks are all banks operating in Serbia and the Belgrade Stock Exchange. The aim of the Association is to position and strengthen the reputation of the banking sector, both in Serbia and abroad. Since its founding in 1921, the Association has been representing, protecting and promoting the activities of its members and coordinating banking practices by means of implementing general rules and principles of professional work and good business practices. Through its organisational units: Credit Bureau, Bank Clearing Institution and Bank Training Centre, the ASB develops activities that support banks and significantly facilitate their operations. The ASB cooperates intensively with numerous international institutions, banking associations and other international financial organizations whose member it is. For more information, visit www.ubs-asb.com.