9 October 2007 | Bucharest, Romania

UNEP FI’s Central and Eastern European Task Force has held an outreach event for the financial services sector of Romania, on 9 October in Bucharest. The event entitled “EU environmental regulations – Risk or Opportunity for the Financial Sector?” looked in detail how accession to the European Union and the subsequent tighter environmental requirements for industries will impact on the finance and insurance sector. Speakers in particular mentioned regulations like REACH, IPPC, the EU liability directive or the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which might pose challenges to Romanian industry. The financial sector needs to be aware of how these regulations affect their customers as non-compliance can have repercussions e.g. on the client’s ability to repay a loan. In addition, other environmental factors like land contamination should be on a financial institution’s radar screen when land is accepted as collateral due to the fact that land owners are increasingly held liable for cleaning up contamination. Climate change was highlighted as one of the key environmental topics that particularly impact on the insurance industry, as more extreme weather conditions e.g. more frequent flooding will result in increasing insurance claims. On the other hand EU Accession was highlighted as an opportunity, as many of the EU funds e.g. for infrastructure investments require a national financial contribution, thus presenting a business case also for the private financial sector. The event was kindly hosted by Interamerican Insurance Romania. UNEP FI will undertake a country study as a follow up to the event, in order to better understand the sustainability topics of interest to the financial sector in Romania. The questionnaire that was handed out at the event is available for download below and can still be returned until end of October 2007.