CBK Publishes Green Finance Rules to Curb Greenwashing

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_CBK Publishes Green Finance Rules to Curb Greenwashing
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Kenya is joining the global fight against greenwashing by proposing new rules to help banks, insurers, and others decide what counts as a "green" investment.

The draft Kenya Green Finance Taxonomy (KGFT) is now open for public comment before becoming a final guide for the financial sector.

These rules aim to make it easier for investors to choose environmentally friendly options while cracking down on misleading claims from companies labelling themselves as eco-friendly.

"A common understanding of green finance is needed for the financial sector to tackle climate change effectively," said Kenya's Central Bank (CBK) in the draft. The initial focus will be on banks, but the plan is to expand to include pension funds, asset managers, and insurance.

Classifying Green Activities

The KGFT uses a "do no significant harm" approach to assess financial and insurance activities. This means life and non-life insurers may need to evaluate how their products affect climate change.

The draft also encourages insurers to offer incentives for risk reduction. For example, policyholders who invest in measures to adapt to climate change might receive lower premiums.

Building a Green Economy

The KGFT will help banks, insurers, and others clearly demonstrate the environmental benefits of their activities. The Central Bank acknowledges technical assistance from the European Investment Bank and has benchmarked Kenya's system against successful models in the EU and South Africa.

This green finance taxonomy is more than just following international trends - it is tailored to Kenya's specific environmental and development goals. It aims to promote a smooth transition to a green economy while aligning with internationally recognised standards.

Kenya's Climate Challenge

Climate change poses a significant threat to Kenya, despite the country's minimal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Sectors like agriculture, water, energy, and tourism are highly vulnerable. A World Bank report estimates Kenya could lose up to 7.25% of its economic output by 2050 without strong action.

Unlocking sustainable finance is crucial for building a climate-resilient economy. Green finance taxonomies are becoming a popular tool for achieving this goal globally.

Urgent Action Needed

Climate change's consequences, from lost livelihoods to mass displacement, threaten global prosperity. All nations must work together to build a climate-resilient green economy.

Kenya submitted updated climate action plans (NDCs) to the UN in 2020. Implementing these plans requires an estimated $62 billion. Kenya itself will cover $8 billion, with the remaining funds coming from international support and the private sector.

Building a Strong Foundation

The KGFT builds upon previous efforts by the Central Bank, which issued guidance on climate risk management in 2021. While banks have made progress in integrating climate risks into their strategies, challenges remain in risk management and disclosure.

The Central Bank hopes the KGFT will address these gaps. Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya echoes this sentiment, stressing the need for well-defined regulations to avoid greenwashing.

Clear rules and careful planning are essential for a successful transition to a green economy. Kenya's draft green finance taxonomy is a promising step in this direction.

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Source: Africa Ahead

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