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On June 27th, four leading Paraguayan banks (Sudameris Bank, Visión Banco S.A.E.C.A., Banco Continental, Banco Regional S.A.E.C.A) launched a Paraguayan Roundtable for Sustainable Finance. The initiative will serve to promote best environmental and social practices in the Paraguayan banking sector. The launch event combined a sustainability training workshop bringing together staff from all four banks, with a high level meeting of senior executives and FMO, the Dutch development bank. The training was provided by UNEP Finance Initiative and EcoBanking. FMO, providing long-term financing to all four banks, had supported the creation of the Roundtable as an initiative to empower its local partners to pursue sustainable development objectives.
The Roundtable for Sustainable Finance is a platform of collaboration, based on a shared standard of environmental and social risk management, which all four banks have already implemented or are in the process of doing so. “The members of the Roundtable are committed to taking responsibility for environmental and social risks that could result from their financing activities. But the vision of the Mesa goes much further as we hope that this standard will be adopted by the whole Paraguayan financial sector. Beyond risk management, we will reach out to our clients to stimulate and finance investments with positive environmental and social impact and thus contribute actively to the sustainable development of our country”, commented Darío Colman of Visión Banco and acting President of the Roundtable.
Nico Pijl, Chief Risk and Finance Officer of FMO and co-convener of the event, expressed his delight at the high-level support for sustainability: “I am excited to see decision makers of the four banks present here today to support sustainable finance in Paraguay. I strongly believe that the financial sector in Paraguay has the potential to become a leader in this new area and we are delighted with the level of collaboration that the Roundtable has already achieved”.
The launch of the Roundtable makes Paraguay part of an growing group of developing countries where banks and governments are creating sustainable-finance frameworks and incentives, such as China’s Green Credit Policy and Nigeria’s Sustainable Banking Principles, to support the adoption of environmental and social standards as well as to explore sustainable business models. International organizations such as IFC, UNEP FI and FMO have been leading this transformation with local partners in emerging markets.
FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing and emerging markets by investing in ambitious entrepreneurs. FMO believes a strong private sector leads to economic and social development, empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With an investment portfolio of EUR 6.3 billion, FMO is one of the largest European bilateral private sector development banks.
About Banco Continental S.A.E.C.A.
Banco Continental is committed to contributing to the sustainable use of natural resources and to improving quality of life. The bank implements this commitment through the analysis of client’s activities and their environment, breaking with the assumption that private business is disconnected from social and environmental challenges. In pursuit of sustainable development - connecting economic growth, social equity and ecological value - Banco Continental seeks to adapt to the trends of a globalizing world by adopting high standards of environmental responsibility, responding to the increasing awareness and expectations of society. Banco Continental applies an environmental and social risk management system and aims to broaden its strategy to include an incentive system for clients with good environmental and social management, for example by supporting clients in becoming compliant with environmental requirements and in reaping additional benefits of sustainability oriented management. By promoting environmental and social responsibility among its clients and good environmental and social practices in the activities financed, Banco Continental seeks to maintain compatibility between economic activities and nature.
About Banco Regional S.A.E.C.A.
Banco Regional was founded in 1991 as a bank focussed on supporting and financing farming businesses and cooperatives. With Rabobank entering as a shareholder in 2008 and the acquisition of the Paraguayan business of ABN AMRO, Banco Regional became Paraguay’s largest bank in food and agribusiness. Now the bank combines this heritage with a wider focus on financing the Paraguayan business community and offering retail services. Banco Regional started to develop a corporate social responsibility policy and organizational structure in 2011. As a financial institution focused on agribusiness and industry, Banco Regional is committed to the management of environmental and social risks. In order to reduce such risks, the bank advises clients in the identification, analysis and management of environmental and social risks related to their activities or projects. Banco Regional’s commitment to present and future generations encompasses sustainable development, support to conservation initiatives and environmental and social investments. This means not only respecting environmental and social considerations in lending activities, but also making available resources to promote environmental and social sustainability.
About Sudameris Bank S.A.E.C.A.
SUDAMERIS BANK S.A.E.C.A was originally formed as Banco Paraguayo de Crédito S.A in 1958. Following participation of various new shareholders from Europe, in 2004, Abbeyfield Financial Holdings, domiciled in Ireland, became the majority shareholder of the Bank. Sudameris Bank works with the highest dedication to provide effective financial solutions, ensuring customer satisfaction, quality of products and services and the creation of shareholder value. Sudameris Bank is committed to contributing to environmental protection and compliance with social norms. With the aspiration to reach high institutional achievements in this field, Sudameris Bank has developed an Environmental and Social Policy, which serves as a valuable tool to monitor and help improve environmental and social performance of customers and employees, complementing the core business of our company. To Sudameris Bank, Corporate Social Responsibility means not only supporting the communities in which it operates, but also to manage its business responsibly, implementing and maintaining the highest ethical standards in its relationships with customers, employees, investors and suppliers.
About Visión Banco S.A.E.C.A.
Visión Banco started to operate in 1992 as a financial institution. Due to the commitment to sustainability at the highest level of the bank and integration of sustainability in the institution’s strategy, Visión Banco has become an important reference point for sustainable management in Paraguay. In its environmental policy Visión Banco commits to the management of impacts that may occur as a result of the bank’s activities. Visión Banco’s understanding of social responsibility is taking responsibility for the impacts of its activities on the environment and natural systems, conservation of land and biodiversity, and assuring the maintenance of ecosystems for a more sustainable development. Visión Banco promotes and finances conservation projects, and engages in improving production processes. Visión Banco was the first Paraguayan financial institutions to become a signatory to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).