“Financing Sustainability: Potential and Challenges of Green Finance”_DR. Minhaz Uddin Ahmed_September 2019:
Today, non-renewable energy sources (i.e., fossil fuels) make up around 90% of the global energy consumption1. Due to their high carbon content, fossil fuels, during their unearthing, processing, and consumption phases, emit harmful air pollutants, generate enormous volumes of wastewater, and strip vast stretches of lands. Meanwhile, every year, 2 billion tons of solid waste are dumped on land2 and over 700 million tons of sewage, industrial, and agricultural waste are dumped into water3. From 1990 to 2016, the world lost 1.3 million square kilometers of forest4, an area larger than South Africa. Overpopulation, rapid urbanization, industrialization, and disregard for environmental consequences have already started to take a heavy toll through global warming, arctic ice melting, rising sea levels, extreme weather, shrinking biodiversity, and worsening human health. To protect our planet from further degradation, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development5 and 2015 Paris Agreement6 have pledged to ensure sustainable production, sustainable management of natural resources, and actions on climate change. Moreover, to fulfill the pledge, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, International Finance Corporation, G20 Forum, Asian Development Bank, and many leading financial institutions and corporations have started raising the necessary capital for investment, under the umbrella of “Green Finance.” It has been estimated that around $600 billion per year is required to conserve land, water, and forests7. Another $350 billion per year is needed to finance green projects, such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. The interlocuters of Green Finance still reside within the finance space. Even for the experts and the environmental professionals, an overview of Green Finance is hard to find in the repository of relevant literature. The Center for Enterprise and Society (CES), a leading research center at ULAB, aims to fill this gap through this article. The article provides a comprehensive understanding of the concept and scope of Green Finance, its importance and history, various types of Green Finance products, the status of Green Finance in Bangladesh, the impediments of Green Finance in Bangladesh, and some policy recommendations.
“A Closer Look at Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh”_Sajid Amit_October 2017:
The story of financial inclusion in Bangladesh began with microfinance institutions, the success of which led to large-scale emulation of home-grown models, in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Subsequently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began to make the case that financial inclusion would be better fostered through technological innovation, leading to the formation of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) in 2008, recognized by the G20 as an implementing partner. In Bangladesh, policy-makers have recognized the social, economic and commercial importance of financial inclusion. The Bangladesh Bank has set up a Financial Inclusion Department and a National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) is currently being formulated. Given the country’s low banking sector and high telecommunication penetration, digital financial services (DFS) is expected to drive financial inclusion. In this thought leadership article (TLA), we consider the latest avatars of DFS, agent banking and mobile financial services (MFS), with a view towards their progress and challenges that remain; and offer insights for their development.