The survey was presented as part of an online conference called “The Role of Banks in Greening Our Economies”, organised by the HNB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The survey, carried out among 20 Croatian banks, showed that the banks did not see climate change as an immediate and serious threat to their business.
Only one bank said that climate change would have a generally significant impact on the Croatian banking system, 11 banks said that the impact would be moderate, while eight said that it would be insignificant.
Only two banks have a climate change-related strategy included in their overall business strategy, expressing concern about risks and anticipating possible changes to the regulatory framework. On the other hand, 15 banks said they were waiting for the regulators to take the initial steps in this regard.
Responding to the question about risk materialisation, 10 banks said that climate risks would not materialise in the near future, while 11 said they were not attaching major importance to exposure to climate change and environmental risks to their portfolio.
Physical risk includes the financial impact of climate change, and five sectors in Croatia are particularly vulnerable to it – tourism, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and energy distribution. More than a quarter of Croatian banks’ exposures to non-financial institutions concern these sectors, mostly tourism, the survey showed.
However, none of the banks has so far assessed its exposure to climate and environmental risks, citing lack of reliable data and methodology as well as lack of qualified staff.
The sectors facing the biggest transition risk from climate change are transport and traffic, agriculture, motor vehicles, energy and oil products, and construction.
Only 9 banks offer green product to their customers
Most banks recognise opportunities brought by the transition to a low-carbon economy, with three-quarters of them saying they could benefit from this transition by financing green projects. However, only nine banks said they were offering a green product to their customers, such as loans for the energy renovation of buildings or the purchase of electric vehicles.
HNB Governor Boris Vujčić said in his opening remarks that both the HNB and EBRD had acknowledged their responsibility for highlighting the role of banks in the climate transition. He recalled the Paris climate change agreement of 2015, which has been ratified by 189 countries, saying that it set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent further global warming.
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