The role of banks in the green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

WiseEuropa Insight for Santander Bank Polska

Santander Bank Polska, in cooperation with the Warsaw Institute for Economic and European Studies – WiseEuropa Foundation, has prepared a report on the role of the banking sector in the green recovery of the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic. The document, published in January this year, contains recommendations that will enable the smooth implementation of the national recovery plan and may contribute to the increased involvement of financial institutions in the process of supporting the low-carbon transition.

Rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic will be inextricably linked to its simultaneous transformation towards a more sustainable, zero-emission economy. The funding that Poland will be able to access under the Next Generation EU programme will be the primary source of finance for the necessary reforms and investments to support this process. However, the mobilisation of private capital is also necessary for the full implementation of the recovery plan. This is why it is so important to find synergies between the actions of the public sector (including the European Commission and governments) and the activity of financial institutions, especially commercial banks.

According to the report, to improve the investment climate there is a need for:

  • unlocking regulation for key green investment markets i.e. onshore wind, offshore wind, thermal upgrading, organic farming etc.

  • introduction of reforms eliminating contradictions between development and reconstruction policies

  • ensuring that investments proposed under the national recovery plan are consistent with the EU taxonomy of sustainable finance

  • implementation of non-financial reporting requirements, which are necessary for a comprehensive assessment of the compliance of projects with environmental objectives

It is also important to integrate EU grant funds into the commercial offer of banks and to develop a guarantee and co-financing offer to increase the attractiveness of commercial products for financing the green transition. The banking sector, on the other hand, faces the challenge of adapting its offer to the challenges of building a low-carbon economy. For more information see the report.