Sri Lanka Banks’ Association: Best Sustainable Banking Leadership South Asia 2019


The Sri Lankan Banks’ Association (SLBA) fills a critical role in national development by balancing business decisions against the possible impact on the country’s human, social, and environmental capital. The association launched the Sustainable Banking Initiative (SLBA-SBI) in 2015 to unite the financial sector on a platform that provides industry workers with educational opportunities and actively promotes responsible banking practices. Banks use the platform to come to a consensus on sustainable standards, define responsibilities, and coordinate efforts to implement best practices. A committee of participating SLBA banks authored a set of 11 Sustainable Banking Principles that have been adopted by 18 signatory banks. The principles promote green economies, collaborative partnerships, financial inclusion, and environmental and social governance, to highlight just a few. In 2017, SLBA added a knowledge-sharing element to the platform, including SBI guidelines, an implementation toolkit, case studies, and courses. It developed a six-module e-learning course that helps bank employees throughout the network deepen their understanding of sustainable banking principles — and then transform that knowledge into action. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has published a sustainability roadmap that illustrates some of the tools available when developing a sustainable finance framework, but participation is voluntary rather than regulatory at present. SLBA hopes to influence public finance policy and inspire industry participation to achieve sustainable economic growth for a greener and more inclusive future. The judging panel presents the Sri Lanka Banks’ Association with the 2019 Best Sustainable Banking Leadership (South Asia) award.