The FINANCIAL – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed a cooperation agreement with the National Bank of Georgia to enhance environmental, social, and corporate governance standards in the private sector and help commercial banks and companies improve performance, enhance competitiveness, and attract investment.
IFC will provide advice on developing corporate governance codes for public companies and commercial banks, with special emphasis on the governance of environmental and social issues. The IFC-supported Sustainable Banking Network (SBN) will also work with the National Bank on designing a sustainable finance roadmap, developing a regulatory framework, and providing technical guidance, as well as helping financial institutions develop and issue green and climate finance products such as green bonds.
To kick off the cooperation and share global and regional experiences, IFC, SBN, and the National Bank hosted Tbilisi’s first sustainable finance workshop today, which was attended by over 50 participants from Georgia’s financial sector, the SBN, and central banks from the region.
“Sustainability is critical to business success”, Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said. “Today in Tbilisi, we mark the launch of sustainable finance reforms that can make Georgia’s financial system and companies greener and better governed. This offers many advantages to financial institutions and companies, including reducing lending risks, targeting green investment opportunities, and increasing their appeal for investors.”
The National Bank joined the SBN in late 2017 and is an active member of its Green Bond Working Group. Members from 35 countries, representing about $43 trillion in banking assets in emerging markets, are united by the aim to make their national financial systems sustainable. To date, 17 SBN countries have released finance policies and principles that integrate environmental, social, and corporate governance into investment projects and increase capital flows to green projects and assets.
IFC has significant experience in the area, having helped more than 50 countries around the world develop corporate governance codes. IFC’s environmental, social, and corporate governance policies are widely adopted as market standards and embedded in operational policies by corporations, investors, financial intermediaries, stock exchanges, regulators, and countries.
Georgia became an IFC member and shareholder in 1995. Since then, IFC has provided around $1.88 billion in long-term financing, of which nearly $980 million was mobilized from partners, in 60 projects in financial services, agribusiness, manufacturing, and infrastructure. In addition, IFC has supported more than $394 million in trade through its trade finance program, and implemented a number of advisory projects focused on developing the private sector.