1 December 2021

Today, the MNB held its traditional international green finance conference as part of the Planet Budapest Sustainability Expo and World Summit. The presentations and panel discussions of the event focused on the implications of the COP26 climate summit for the financial system and further environmental anomalies beyond climate change. At the conference, the Green Finance Awards were awarded to the greenest’ financial institutions and to academic excellence in the field.

In Hungary, in Europe and worldwide, green lending and the green bond market are on the rise, climate and other sustainability aspects and the ESG approach are increasingly being incorporated into risk management, but there is still much to be done to enable the financial system to support carbon neutrality efforts as a financier. This was the message of the Green Finance Conference organised by the Magyar Nemzeti Bank this year in the framework of the Planet Budapest expo.

This year’s presentations and panel discussions focused on the implications of the COP26 climate summit for the financial system and the importance of environmental anomalies beyond climate change, such as biodiversity issues.

In his presentation, Csaba Kandrács, Deputy Governor of the MNB, presented the MNB’s climate stress test, according to which – both globally and in Hungary – a swift and orderly transition to a carbon neutral economy, as soon as possible, would be important for the quality of bank credit. Ádám Banai, Executive Director of the MNB, spoke about the monetary policy implications of climate change and the pioneering role of the Green Home Programme. Speakers included Senior Executives from the European Investment Bank, the Asian Institute for Sustainable Finance, and the Senior Executive of the Sustainable Finance Platform developing the EU Taxonomy, as well as high-level representatives from Cicero, BlackRock and 2° Investing Initiative and the UN Environment Programme. On the part of domestic market participants, the heads of Magyar Bankholding Zrt., Erste Bank Zrt. and OTP Bank Nyrt. exchanged their green finance experiences.

At the conference, the Green Finance Awards for financial institutions and the Green Finance Science Awards for excellence in academia were presented.

In announcing the Green Bank Award, the MNB looked at the extent of green lending, the green bond portfolio held by institutions and the institutions’ exposure to climate change. In the case of the Green Insurance and Pension Fund Award and the Green Investment Fund Manager Award, the number of ESG funds and portfolios available to institutions and the size of their assets under management were taken into account in announcing the award.

The Green Finance Award jury, taking into account all the criteria, presented the Green Bank Award to MKB Bank Zrt. The Green Insurance and Pension Fund Award was given to UNION Vienna Insurance Group Biztosító Zrt. and the Green Investment Fund Manager Award to Erste Fund Management Zrt.

The Green Finance Scientific Awards are decided by a panel of scientists and selected members of the Monetary Council. The International Green Finance Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Naoyuki Yoshino, Professor Emeritus at Keio University in Tokyo. He earned his PhD at Johns Hopkins University in the US. Previously, he was Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and Director of the Financial Research Center (FSA Institute) of the Japan Financial Services Agency’s (FSA) Financial Research Center. His work has led to breakthrough achievements in the field of green finance research.

The Green Finance Science Grand Award was presented to Dr Helena Naffa, whose outstanding publication output is a model for the Hungarian research community in several green finance research areas. She is a popular lecturer in several subjects. Her work embodies a practice-oriented approach based on theoretical foundations, as she has gained considerable experience both in academia and in market decision-making.

The Green Finance Talent Award recognised Kata Molnár for her research, one of the particular strengths of which is her international and project-based approach. Her work on water management and climate adaptation, as well as water risk analysis of investment portfolios and economic sectors, draws attention to one of the most urgent areas of environmental risk.

The Green Finance Research Initiative Award was won by the research team of Dr Anett Parádi-Dolgos. The research plan developed by the research group on the topic of green finance solutions adaptable to the challenges of Hungarian agriculture has the potential to have a direct and significant impact on the domestic economy and banking system in terms of sustainability. Other members of the research team are Prof. Dr Sándor Kerekes, Dr Arnold Csonka, Dr Tibor Bareith, and László Vancsura.

The publication summarising the main results of the MNB’s long-term climate stress test is available via this link.

Magyar Nemzeti Bank