Monday, October 2, 2023

ComBank strengthens its green financing mandate with GGGI partnership

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has signed a milestone agreement with the Seoul-headquartered Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), a leading international inter-governmental technical advisor on sustainable finance initiatives.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) ratified by the two entities sets the stage for a sustainable finance collaboration programme, and enhances Commercial Bank’s readiness to mobilise green and blue investment opportunities for Sri Lanka’s private sector.

The Director General of GGGI Dr. Frank Rijsberman signed the MoU on behalf of GGGI, while the Managing Director and CEO of the Commercial Bank Mr Sanath Manatunge signed on behalf of the Bank.

This transformative partnership between Commercial Bank and GGGI holds immense promise for accelerating sustainable finance initiatives in Sri Lanka, paving the way for a greener and more resilient economy for generations to come, the Bank said.

According to the GGGI, Commercial Bank continues to show its commitment to expanding its green portfolio through the exploration of thematic bond issuances. Through this partnership, the Bank will gain GGGI’s international technical expertise and support for the creation of a thematic bond framework and strengthen its institutional capacity.

Sri Lanka became GGGI’s 30th member state in 2019. The Institute has a unique in-country presence and plays a prominent role as a neutral, trusted advisor and strategic development partner embedded in Member and Partner governments. GGGI champions climate action and serves in the role of an enabler and facilitator of Members’ transition into a low-carbon green economy, providing policy advice and technical support in the development of green growth plans, policies and regulations, mobilisation of green investments, implementation of green growth projects, and development of local capacities and knowledge sharing.

Sri Lanka was elected as Vice President of the Assembly and Vice Chair of the Council of GGGI in October 2022, and GGGI has an in-country program with key strategic focus areas that include mainstreaming innovative climate finance tools; building resilience and supporting a national adaptation planning and implementation process; establishing energy-efficient and environmentally friendly transport systems; increasing the uptake of green energy and enhancing energy efficiency through an improved enabling environment and bankable projects, and sustainable landscapes.

One of the first banks in Sri Lanka to venture into green financing, Commercial Bank has been adjudged the winner at the Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards and is a pioneer in sustainability through its innovative green portfolio, while initiating a mandatory social and environmental screening process for its lending activities. The Bank is the leading lender to the renewable energy sector and has implemented many corporate and social responsibility activities, including a mangrove restoration project in Koggala, a marine turtle conservation initiative in Panama and the reforestation of a 100-hectare swath of degraded habitat belonging to the Kandegama forest in the Dimbulagala range of the Polonnaruwa District.

Sri Lanka’s first 100% carbon neutral bank, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for 12 years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 271 branches and 957 automated machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is the largest lender to Sri Lanka’s SME sector and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s Banking sector. The Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 20 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.

Photo caption: Commercial Bank’s Managing Director/CEO Mr Sanath Manatunge (4th from right) and GGGI’s Director General Dr Frank Rijsberman exchange the agreement in the presence of (from left) GGGI’s Intern-Sustainable Finance Mr Chetan Wirasinha Abhayaratne, Senior Business Development Officer Mr Kavitha Ariyabandu, Country Representative – GGGI  Sri Lanka Dr Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu, Commercial Bank’s Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking & Marketing Mr Hasrath Munasinghe, Chief Risk Officer Mr Kapila Hettihamu and Head of investment Banking Mrs Sushara Vidyasagara.

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