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Center-invest Bank recognised as sustainable banking leader in Eastern Europe by FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Awards

Center-invest Bank was the runner-up in its category in the FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Awards, receiving a special commendation for leadership in Eastern Europe. Center-invest Bank was the only Russian bank to win an award.

Sustainable banking is a new business model that focuses on the interests of both current and future generations. Under this model, banks voluntarily commit to higher standards of risk management and social and environmental responsibility based on international best practice. IFC President, Dr Jin-Yong Cai, thinks those that find the right formula will benefit. “Over the long term, companies that adopt strong environmental, social and governance standards tend to significantly outperform those that don’t,” he says.

Center-invest Bank helps SMEs to modernise, and it promotes and finances energy efficiency projects and the introduction of new technologies in agribusiness. The bank runs social and educational projects in schools and higher education institutions, works with the not-for-profit sector, and organises networking events for businesswomen. At the same time, the bank is highly profitable: return on capital in 2012 was 16%.

The FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Conference and Awards were held in London on June 13. Now in its eighth year, the competition attracted a record number of entrants: 254 organisations, of which 164 were financial institutions. The winners had to provide examples of how socially responsible investment can also be profitable.

Speaking at the award ceremony, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Center-invest Bank, Dr Vasily Vysokov, thanked the bank’s partners and the competition organisers for the opportunity to demonstrate the competitiveness of the sustainable banking business model in Russia.