By Sum Manet
Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 20, 2016
Banks in Cambodia will strive to improve sustainability, and integrate environmental and social safeguards into future business decisions, the Association of Banks of Cambodia (ABC) announced yesterday.
At a ceremony at the Himawari Hotel in Phnom Penh, ABC acting chairman Charles Vann said the association was committed to improving the banking sector.
“The intent is to develop and design environmental and social standards which are appropriate for Cambodia, designed by Cambodian banks with the assistance of international partners,” he said after signing a commitment statement setting out ABC’s intentions.
The effort to ensure Cambodian banks do better in regard to safer, more sustainable lending, as well as in helping to protect the country’s threatened environments, is being supported by the Mekong Partnership for the Environment, a $15 million project funded by the US government.
The project’s director Christy Owen said that aside from the obvious social and environmental benefits that the refocusing will bring, it will also help to protect the banks.
“Not only are sustainable lending practices vital to Cambodia’s economic growth and environmental health, but they just make good business sense. These practices benefit communities but they also benefit banks by reducing risks and opening up new markets.”
The commitment to improve Cambodia’s banking model has seen the ABC’s acceptance into the International Finance Corporation’s Sustainable Banking Network, it was also announced yesterday. The network is made up of regulatory agencies and banking associations in emerging markets that have signaled their commitment to promote sustainable finance following international standards.