International Finance Corporation to support sustainable finance in Guatemala

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will support Guatemala in promoting sustainable finance in the banking sector through the Guatemalan Banking School (Escuela Bancaria de Guatemala, EBG) and the Central American Banking School (Escuela Bancaria Centroamericana, EBC), after the joining of the Banking Association of Guatemala (ABG) to the Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN), a program of IFC.

This support allows members to share knowledge through the platforms and mechanisms of education and training that the ABG possesses.

Through forums, workshops, trainings, seminars, regional conferences, targeted training and technical assistance, IFC will collaborate with the Guatemalan banking sector to develop and implement national sustainable financing frameworks; the use of tools to finance environmentally-friendly projects; the construction of environmental and social risk management systems aligned with international standards; and the exchange of knowledge and best practices in the field.

The support of the ABG through its educational entities was positively affirmed by Marcela Ponce, IFC Climate Finance Leader in Latin America, during her participation in the XV Regional Congress on Remittances, Microfinance and Financial Inclusion. In the event, organized by the ABG, Ponce stressed that “economic recovery must prioritize initiatives with a focus on sustainability, first of all, because it is key to advancing Guatemala’s development agenda, but also because sustainable finance represents an important business opportunity, which, until recently, has been largely neglected.”

Sanaa Abouzaid, IFC’s Regional Manager for Central America, welcomed the support that the ABG will provide as it “will open doors for banks to expand their services, serve new markets, and respond to the needs of their customers.”

Guatemalan banks are aware of the need to incorporate sustainability into their operations to respond to the needs of customers, under the guidelines of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek efficiency in their businesses and implement international best practices in environmental and social risk management. The educational platforms of the EBG and the EBC will be bolstered to allow for the exchange of knowledge within the country and the region.

The Sustainable Banking and Finance Network is made up of regulators and banking associations interested in promoting sustainable banking practices. It was launched in 2012 as a global network of capacity and knowledge building of financial regulators and emerging market banking associations that are committed to advancing the sustainable finance agenda. IFC acts as the Secretariat of the SBFN, playing the role of a strategic and technical advisor, as well as a global convener of the SBFN and its members.

Currently, the SBFN is made up of 63 institutions from 43 countries, including in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru. Globally, member countries account for more than 86% of banking assets in emerging markets and can play a critical role in achieving the SDGs and the national green growth agenda.