Amidst increasing regulatory and commercial pressure for banks and financial institutions (BFIs) to protect themselves from the impact of climate change and to align with the global sustainability agenda, majority of domestic bankers expect business impact due to climate change within five years.

In a poll conducted among the participants in the 'Climate change session with Nepal banks' CEOs and chairpersons' organised by FMO today, 67 per cent said they expect impact on business as a result of climate change in three to five years.

The ND-Gain Index, which summarises a country's vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges in combination with its readiness to improve resilience, ranks Nepal 127 out of 182. Nepal's score highlights the urgency for immediate action.

Emphasising how climate risks are not just the impact of companies on the environment but also the impact of the environment on companies, Nicci Bouwman, senior corporate governance adviser at FMO, said that through mitigation and adaptation measures banks and financial institutions can help to reduce the risks brought on by climate change.

Sandwiched between polluting giants India and China, Sanima Bank CEO Bhuvan Kumar Dahal likened Nepal's efforts to mitigate climate risks to 'trying to save a room when the house is on fire'.

Meanwhile, Pieter Gorgels, manager financial institutions-Asia at FMO, pointed at the need of longterm green financing solutions and assured of feasible support to Nepali banks to better tackle climate change risks.

Joseph Silvanus, managing director of Dolma Consulting, informed that efforts are underway to mainstream environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) into academics and discussions are ongoing to develop a curated curriculum with focus on ESG to create a talent pool of banking personnel.

The event was also attended by the officials of the Nepal Rastra Bank, members of the media, among others.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 10 2021, of The Himalayan Times.