3 June 2019

Banks, insurers and investment companies doing the most to reduce ecological footprint received the Green Finance Awards for the first time during today’s award ceremony. The most environmentally conscious financial service providers are authorised to bear the title and use the Green Finance Award logo. Of the numerous applications received in the announced categories, OTP, K&H Bank, KÖBE, Vertis and Gránit Bank proved to be the best.

In February this year, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) announced its Green Programme to support Hungarian financial services aimed at protecting the environment and further reducing market participants’ and their own ecological footprint. Under the programme, the Bank initiated a prize entitled “Green Finance Award” in several categories, with the purpose of creating a tradition, supporting the greening of market participants and recognising institutions that did the most in the field of environment protection.

In his opening speech delivered at the award ceremony held in Budapest, Governor of the MNB György Matolcsy called the promotion of long-term sustainable economic growth an important objective of the Bank. He stressed that “ecological sustainability is a key element of Hungary’s competitiveness, for which green economic thinking and appropriate financial products are also needed.”

Taking into account all award criteria, the Green Finance Award jury granted the Green Finance Award to K&H Bank in 2019. K&H Bank has become one of the most important solar energy financing banks, and its environmental management system is also outstanding. The Green Insurance Award was presented to KÖBE Central European Mutual Insurance Association, primarily for the increased inclusion of green aspects in its insurance products. Vertis Environmental Finance received the Green Investment Service Provider Award in recognition of its green activities. Vertis is a major participant in the market of CO2 allowances, one of the key tools of the transition to a climate-friendly economy, in Europe. The Special Green Finance Innovator Award was presented to Gránit Bank, primarily for its full-digital operation and its role in the funding of green energy.

The jury granted the Green Finance Award, the aggregate category of the competition, to OTP Bank. OTP includes green elements in both of its banking and investment services, and also plays an exemplary role in the field of sustainability research, education and sponsorship.

Evaluation of the applications shows that financial institutions in all sectors are taking major steps to reduce their own ecological footprint, and environmental aspects are built in some of their products as well. The majority of them has managed to reduce harmful emission and the volume of energy consumption in recent years, and they have sought to operate in an environmentally friendly manner by introducing a number of green solutions.

A professional jury evaluated the applications and decided on the awards, in accordance with the criteria required by the notice of competition. Members of the committee comprise external authorities invited by the Governor and Senior Management of the MNB; Nándor Csepreghy Director of Blue Planet Foundation; László György, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology; János Józsa, Rector of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics; Csaba Kőrösi, Head of the Environmental Sustainability Directorate of the Office of the President of the Republic; Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University; Lászlo Palkovics, Rector of Szent István University; Péter Szendrő, Rector Emeritus of Szent István University; Zoltán Szilvássy, Rector of the University of Debrecen; and Gergely Tóth, Secretary-General of Követ Association and Lecturer at the University of Kaposvár.

Over the coming years, the MNB will continue announcing its Green Finance Award for financial institutions, taking into account the significant interest expressed by financial institutions.