MAKATI CITY, 30 October 2020 — Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Benjamin Diokno and House deputy speaker Loren Legarda challenged executives to integrate the physical and transition risks brought about by climate change in their planning and decision-making.
“The financial sector holds a unique position in advancing the sustainability agenda. We cannot leave climate change and sustainability as only the government’s priority,” Diokno told members of the Institute of Corporate Directors in a virtual conference it organized yesterday with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and The Climate Reality Project (TCRP) Philippines. “The COVID-19 pandemic provides a window of opportunity for reshaping the industry’s future – we must learn from it and build a climate resilient, green, and sustainable economy.”
BSP managing director Lyn Javier commented that Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Alfonso Cusi’s announcement of a moratorium on new coal plants last Tuesday was a national government signal to financial institutions to review their energy portfolio.
“The recent announcement of the DOE would shape the risk appetite of the industry because in setting the appetite in terms of lending, the energy plans of the country have to be in sync or aligned,” she said.
Antique representative Legarda stressed that the influx of available green bonds, as well as President Rodrigo Duterte’s call last month for the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the climate emergency we are in, clearly shows the potential of green opportunities in adding jobs and growing the economy.
“It is thus vital that we ensure the right investments flourish in our economy in order to give our people the ability to survive and thrive in the face of the climate emergency. Moving towards low carbon development will address both the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change,” she said.
Moderator and ICSC executive director Renato Redentor Constantino noted that the signing of the BSP’s Sustainable Finance Policy Framework earlier this year, as well as the DOE’s moratorium on new coal plants, were positive policy signals that the government is working to make the country less vulnerable to climate impacts and more conducive to green growth.
“This is only the starting point. And while the Philippines contributes less than one percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, we still need to do our part,” he said, adding that Japan and South Korea have recently pledged carbon neutrality by 2050, following China’s similar pledge last month but for 2060.
Convergence Blended Finance managing director Robert van Zwieten pointed out that the Philippines has yet to catch up with its ASEAN peers in the sustainability agenda.
“Our banks should move faster than the three-year period because climate change does not wait for anyone,” he said, referring to the BSP Sustainable Finance Framework’s requirement for financial institutions to incorporate environmental, social and governance principles into their planning and operations within a three-year transition period.
Yesterday’s conference is the second installment of the ICD’s “Pilipinas: Aspire, Rise, Sustain Series”, which is certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The third webinar on sustainability reporting, to be held on November 5, will feature SEC commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee and ICD’s Atty. Teodoro Kalaw IV as speakers, with ICD chair Rex Drilon II as moderator. For more information, please visit https://www.icd.ph/.
CONTACT: Denise Fontanilla, ICSC: firstname.lastname@example.org, +63 917 851 4890