Sustainable finance has been identified by Acting Minister of the Environment, Senator Haynesley Benn, as a key opportunity for growth, in light of the economic slowdown being faced by some of the region’s major trading partners.
Senator Benn cited reductions in tourism receipts, remittance levels and direct foreign investments among the resultant factors of the economic crisis. He told a recent sustainable finance breakfast that "in the face of adversity, opportunity also exists."
"As a region weathering this economic storm we are responsible enough to recognise, and admit our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. These same qualities spur us on, not only to identify, but to firmly grasp feasible solutions that present themselves in these difficult times and sustainable finance represents one such opportunity," he told?? the forum, which had as its theme: ???Sustainable Finance in the Caribbean: Building the Business case and Next Steps’.
Senator Benn assured the gathering that Government was committed to articulating broad national sustainability goals, and more specifically, to facilitating ongoing dialogue and awareness of the issue.
"We will also support initiatives by the sector to build capacities in such areas as Environmental and Social Risk Analysis, as well as working collaboratively to support the overall environmental performance within business and industry. We certainly see this as a competitive niche for Barbados-based enterprises in a growing global green economy," he stressed.
The Acting Environment Minister further pledged Government’s support of the development and implementation of a sustainability agenda in the local financial sector, as well as of the work of the Barbados Sustainable Finance Group.
"Government also supports the call for the establishment of a Caribbean Sustainable Finance Group to champion the effort across the Caribbean and present a unified, regional position at the international level," Minister Benn added. He however, advised the senior banking executives that the feasibility of establishing a Caribbean Sustainable Finance Group depended largely on the continuation of their work to date.
The breakfast meeting was organised by the Barbados Sustainable Finance Group in collaboration with the Barbados Bankers’ Association and the Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage. It sought primarily to raise the awareness of sustainable finance issues among stakeholders.