The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) on Wednesday invited public comments on the draft framework on sustainable and sustainability-linked lending by financial institutions in IFSCs.
“The draft guidance framework intends to encourage the IFSC banking units (IBU) and finance companies/ finance units (FC/FUs) (undertaking lending activities from IFSCs) to internally develop a comprehensive board approved policy on green/ social/ sustainable/ sustainability linked lending,” IFSCA said in a statement.
The guidance intends to provide a broad framework for the adoption of principles aligned with the existing international standards viz. green/ social loan principles developed by loan market association (LMA), bond principles developed by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA), Climate Bond Standards by Climate Bonds Initiative and any other similar recognised standards, it said.
IFSCA has been established as a unified regulator to develop and regulate financial products, financial services and financial institutions in the International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in India.
As the climate crisis deepens, economies across the globe are transitioning towards sustainable and low-carbon growth, it said, adding that this transition is fuelled by their commitment to meet the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Banks and financial institutions are one of the key players who can support this transition by directing financial flows to sustainable and climate-friendly solutions via lending or by raising capital for sustainable and sustainability-linked projects, it said.
However, it said there is a need for banks and financial institutions to have a policy to ensure transparency in this process to avoid concerns like greenwashing.
IFSCA proposes to direct the IBUs and FC/ FUs (undertaking lending activities from IFSCs) registered with it to develop a board-approved policy on sustainable lending within nine months from the date of issuance of the final framework, it said.
Further, it said such entities will have at least 10 per cent of their loan assets in the form of lending to green/ social/ sustainable/ sustainability-linked sectors/ facilities from the financial year beginning April 2023/ calendar year beginning January 2023.
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