Staff Correspondent
Investment in green initiatives has seen a significant rise in the past few years as the country’s banks and financial institutions (FIs) have disbursed substantial low-cost loan to support eco-friendly industries, businesses and other projects.
Experts have said that investment in eco-friendly or green technology will ensure sustainable economic growth and generate employment in Bangladesh.
According to Bangladesh Bank (BB), investments with green initiatives have increased by 8.90 percent or Tk 2,145.35 million at the end of April to June quarter of 2018 compared to the previous January to March period.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) officials said they are trying to play a significant role to expand green banking activities by monitoring the whole scenario and taking appropriate actions.
Sources said the total amount invested as green finance increased to Tk 26,237.75 million in April to June 2018 quarter from Tk 24,092.40 million in January to March quarter. Some 31 banks out of 57 and 10 FIs out of 33 have exposure in green finance in the reported quarter.
The central bank issued a policy guideline for green banking in February, 2011. Under the guideline, all operating banks and FIs have introduced environment-friendly banking activities in the country.
An official said 56 banks have at least one online branch and 46 banks have introduced internet banking facility till June, 2018. The banks and FIs are now providing regular training to their staff on green banking.
BB data shows that 32 banks have arranged 114 training programmes concerning green banking where the total number of participants was 3,860. On the other hand, six FIs have arranged six training programmes concerning green banking where the total number of participants was 147.
As per the central bank’s instruction, the official said, banks and FIs have formed a “Climate Risk Fund” by allocating 10 percent of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budget for this fund.
BB established a lending scheme namely “Financing Brick Kiln Efficiency Improvement Project”, supported by Asian Development Bank (ADB), to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and refine particulate pollution from brick fields, the BB official said.
With support from BB’s Taka 200-crore refinancing scheme, the banks and FIs are disbursing easy loans to promote different green products like solar energy system, bio-gas plant and effluent treatment plant (ETP). BB has increase the green product line to 51 under eight categories, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative energy, waste management, recycling and recyclable product, environment friendly brick-kiln, environment friendly installation and miscellaneous. In addition, it has also created a $200 million fund to make RMG and leather factories more eco-friendly.