Environmental and Social Safeguards Mechanism and Accountability Mechanism in Indian Financial Institutions and Intermediaries

February 20, 2020
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CPS, in collaboration with the partners listed below, is organising a seminar on Environmental and Social Safeguards Mechanism and Accountability Mechanism in Indian Financial Institutions and Intermediaries.

Support and Knowledge Partner: Maharashtra Pollution Control Board

Knowledge Partners: Compliance Review Panel of Asian Development Bank, Ekonnect Knowledge Foundation, Mumbai and CFA Institute

Network Partner: Bombay Stock Exchange, Mumbai


India has been experiencing significant economic growth in last few years, coupled with many prestigious industrial and infrastructure projects. These high value projects are generally financed by Indian financial institutions and also, investment funds. In some cases, funds from international institutions like World bank, IFC, ADB, AIIB etc is also received for these projects. Most of these projects require environmental clearance and consent from environmental regulators under the provisions of Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 and Water/Air (P&CP) Acts.  

Environmental regulators are trying to enforce regulations to ensure sustainable development by regulating these project activities in a proactive manner through various innovative environmental governance tools like standards, covenants, public disclosure etc. India being party to most of the international conventions and treaties on the environment, Indian environmental regulators have also adopted the relevant provisions of these treaties and conventions in their regulations from time to time.

Most Multi-lateral Banks (MDBs) like World bank, ADB, IFC, AIID have their own environmental and social safeguard policies and also, accountability mechanisms to address the concerns of project affected people. At the international level also, there have been various initiatives to ensure that financial institutions adopt environmental and social safeguards in their internal operating procedures, and there are several initiatives like Responsible Finance, UNEP Finance Initiative, Equator Principles, Basel Convention etc. In last few years, new financial models have emerged, like climate bonds, green bonds etc. Overall, there has been more and more focus on sustainable finance by banking and financial institutions, which not only ensure sustainable operations of the financed projects, reducing the risks of closure/stoppage/ delay of projects on environmental grounds resulting in NPAs but also, to avoid reputation risks for these banks and FIs. Some Indian Institutions like IIFCL, Yes Bank, HDFC Mutual funds, RBL Bank, SBI Mutual funds etc. have already adopted environmental and social safeguard frameworks, and there is a growing trend of ESG evaluation in these FIs before making investments.

Ironically, the efforts of both environmental regulators and these financial institutions are separate, and there is no linkage or communication between these two critical sectors which can provide an effective model for supporting sustainable investment/finance in development projects. 

Maharashtra Pollution Control Board proposes to organise a one-day workshop for Indian financial institutions and banks to discuss a possible way forward to deliberate India specific strategies, policies and interventions required to ensure sustainable finance in development projects. It is proposed to invite the banking and financial regulators including RBI, and SEBI which can surely help to take the deliberations further. 

The proposed workshop is supported by MPCB to develop alternate innovative approaches for ensuring environmental compliance. Such efforts would be complimentary to MPCB’s own efforts and create awareness among important stakeholders i.e. FIs on requirements of environmental safeguards and associated risks of environmental non-compliance. 

There is no fee for participation in this seminar. And therefore, it is planned to restrict the seminar participation to 50-60 professionals working in the subject area. The persons who wish attend the seminar directly without receiving invitation may fill the attached form and they will be communicated the confirmation of their participation. 

All the invited delegates who have already confirmed their participation are also requested to fill the form for administrative convenience. 

Application Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScXmuNi5MTpXcQwY4j10DEmL5tO4lc_7mfz6eRKvWxoDkZa4A/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1


Photo courtesy: Yogendra Singh from Pexels


February 20, 2020
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