Sustainable finance in the Baltic States

17 October 2006 | Vilnius, Lithuania

On 17 October 2006 UNEP FI´s Central and Eastern European Task Force has offered a seminar on sustainable finance for the Baltic States in Vilnius, Lithuania. The seminar was kindly hosted by DNB Nord Bankas, a regional branch of UNEP FI signatory DNB NOR. The seminar, divided into asset management and risk management sessions, was attended by more than 30 participants from local financial institutions, governmental agencies, regulatory bodies and non-governmental organisations. The one-day seminar was opened by Mr Schilli, President and CEO of DNB Nord. In his speech he pointed out that after successful transition to market economy and liquid and transparent capital market, it was now time for Lithuanian banks to take other fundamental issues like the environment and society into account. Key note speeches were given by Prof. Juknys, Head of the Expert Group on Implementation of Lithuania’s Strategy for Sustainable Development and Knut Rørbakken, Group CSR Officer, Nordea Bank AB. Mr Rorbakken has presented Nordea´s approach to sustainable banking, starting from well defined values and internal debate to sustainable credit policies and close stakeholder collaboration. In his speech he was asking for more sustainable capitalism, which overcomes short-term thinking, exploitation of natural resources and corruption. In the asset management session, Laurent De Greef, Senior Vice President, Acadian Asset Management gave an introduction to business case and methods of socially responsible investment. His speech was followed by a presentation of research undertaken by DNB Nord’s analyst Shana Gavron. Ms Gavron had examined the disclosure of corporate governance, environmental and social policies by the 35 most liquid listed companies in the Baltic States. Even though the Baltic results compare well with the results of similar studies in Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, disclosure of environmental and social policies is still behind disclosing corporate governance structure. Ms Gavron also found that a CSR Baltic Index, created for the purpose of her research and consisting of only those companies with better CSR disclosure, has the potential to outperform the All Share Baltic Index. The afternoon sessions were focusing on environmental and social considerations in lending with case studies explaining the rationale for environmental risk assessment by the EBRD, an overview of the Equator Principles by the Danish Export Credit Agency and a presentation of risk management in renewable energy financing by Nordic Investment Bank. At the close of the seminar two banks were presenting their best practice approaches to implement sustainable banking. UNEP FI signatory Swedbank has described in different steps how an environmental management system can be set up. Lithuanian Siauliu Bankas presented how a focus on environment and society can increase access to foreign capital.

Presentations

Documents

Agenda (PDF: 77 KB)