Role of Banking System in Green Finance in the Context of India: An Analysis


Debjani Sarkar1, Amar Latta2

1Research Scholar, Economics Department, Shri Guru Ram Rai University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

2Head and Assistant Professor, Economics Department, Shri Guru Ram Rai University,

Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

*Corresponding Author E-mail:,



To achieve the goal of SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) by 2030, India took many initiatives to promote green economy which include Green Finance. Green Finance is a new concept which comprises with different range of products and services to give opportunities to environmental friendly projects and infrastructure developments. To fulfil the objective of fast economic growth without compromising the climate, banking institutions are playing an important role. These kinds of banking strategies are coined as Green Banking. Green Banking promotes eco-friendly practices to reduce carbon footprint and also sensitise their customers with the help of different schemes and initiatives. But, as we know in a country like India that lacks in proper infrastructure and management the objectives of green banking can’t not be attained as easily. All the issues and challenges faced by the government and financial institutions have been discussed in this paper along with the important and different strategies adopted by them. The study is based on secondary data and literature review.


KEYWORDS: Sustainable Development Goal, Green Economy, Green Finance.




Adaptation of effective methods was indeed necessary in order to ensure that social, environmental and socio - economic factors are well assimilated into the form of sustainable advancement. Integrated Green Financing allows financial managers to acquire and use funds for ecological sustainability that can be renewed, reused, recycled and provide long-term solutions1. Green funding guarantees environmental auditing, budgeting, and environmental friendly planning of resources2.


Increasing environmental concerns at national and global level and reactivity of this environmental issue has become important for the financial sector. Green financing means investing in projects that prevent future degradation of our natural environment.


It is compulsory to protect the environment in sectors such as waste management, water preservation, energy from renewable, public transport and biodiversity. They need to develop the green finance concept. For future generations, water, air and land are the important assets we must save. Sustainable development is significantly vital as through it, the need of any society is met and natural resource conservation leads to virtuous co- ordination between humanities and natural resources. Green finance is one of the emerging patterns of financial investment that gives environmental and social priority. Therefore, it is important to know how knowledgeable investors are about the "green finance" new funding trend and how it impacts our country's sustainable development. This paper attempts to know about the Green Finance in India along with its recent trend and future scope3. Banking sector is playing a major role in this idea of green finance which has been elaborated in this paper along with the strategies adopted by these institutions.


Defining Green Finance in India and Its Implications

Meaning of Green Finance:

Green finance is mainly directed at investing in greenhouse gas emission reduction, renewable energy, pollution-control, waste management and inevitably towards cumulative conservation, biodiversity development and sustainable development. Green finance relates to any financial tool or expenditure, which includes capital, debt, subsidies, purchases and sales of green products that form public as well as private finance for a joint investment policy firm3.


Figure 14: Green Finance Comprises


Benefits of Green financing:


Figure25: Benefits of Green Finance


Sources of Green Financing:

In the context of Green Finance, there are mainly three sources in common:

(1) Domestic public finance (2) global public finance (3) Private sector finance. The domestic public finances means that government solely acts as a funding source and the global public finance refers to the financing of intercontinental organisations as well as the multilateral development banks. Different investment structures may package green financing in different ways5.


Figure 36: Sources of Green products


Banking Institutions in Green Finance:

Meaning of Green Banking:

Green banking means encouraging acts which help cutting the carbon footprint of any business. These can be practiced in many ways like;

1.   Rather than going for traditional banking, go for online banking.

2.   Online payments and other transactions through many online platforms like GooglePay, Phonepay, Paytm, etc.

 3. Opening online bank accounts

 4. Search the regional bank which takes the greatest steps to support local green initiatives in your area7.


Table17: Publication dates of Green banking adoption in Indian Banks

Green Banking implementation year

Name of the banks operating in India


Union Bank of India


Citi Group INC, HSBC, IN Vyasa, RBS, Royal bank of Canada, Syndicate Bank, Standard Charted


Yes Bank, Corporation Bank


Bank Of America, JP Morgan




Bank Of Baroda, Karnataka Bank, Industrial Bank, Dena Bank


HDFC, Indian Overseas, Indusland Bank, PNB, ABN, Amro, Karur Vyasa, Andhra bank


Axis bank, kotak Mahndra, South Indian bank


Canara Bank, IDBI, EXIM





Role of Bank in Green Financing:

Indian banks such as the State Bank of India, the IDBI Bank and the ICICI Bank started financing projects in the field of renewable energy. The renewable energy financing is also focused on foreign banks like Standard Chartered or ABN Amro. The Barclays initiated some of the first step for investing to meet investors' increasing desire for GHG price exposure. The Barclays introduced the BGCI, its first global carbon index, which gives investors access to the world's carbon markets. Barclays always ready to help customers recognize and deal with their exposures to carbon risk via their various schemes.


The Bank of Baroda has initiated a program to finance SMEs for equipment acquisition, assistance and efforts to improve efficient energy conservation.


The National Bank of India has signed the MOU for the execution of CDM-projects, consultative product and services in the area of carbon credit financing with a consortium of CDM consultants. The SBI has also developed an innovative home loan to facilitate green to back up green housing projects. The IndusInd Bank has launched an idea of green workplace project to install solar-powered ATMs in various cities to save both energy and lower CO2 pollution.


In order to carry out sustainable projects which will promote green, the ICICI Bank also been assisting various organisations. It has been financing projects which encourage in particular the efficiency of energy, renewable energy, co generative biomass, biomass combustion, etc. The institutions also financed ideas to help mitigate the emissions of GHGs and finance eco-friendly technology. Yes Bank's range includes master plan related to alternative energy and clean technologies and South Asian Clean Energy Fund investments and the Tatva Investment Programme. The Bank of Canara has developed an energy-saving equipment/measurement strategy for SMEs. The maximum ₹100lakhs is sanctioned under a term loan.


The Maharashtra Bank has promoted the solar energy at home and conventional energy practices. The renewable energy equipment must be installed in particular. Photovoltaic cell solar power– solar home cycles, photovoltaic solar pumps and equipment, the Bio-energy – Clean energy programmes – clean-energy equipment, biomass-power cogeneration products, equipment for converting waste to energy and bio-diesel equipment is to be produced by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and by UNEP approved companies. The users include farmers, rural craftsmen, employees, businesses and the self-employed.


For over 17 years, the IDBI Bank has played the revolutionary part in environmental banking in the Indian financial institutions, and has worked in this field. In order to address both the Kyoto Protocol' s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)/Carbon Credits and Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) authorities, the Bank of IDBI set up a special group looking after ecological change and in particular on carbon credits consultancy services to investors. This group developed a structured product for early financing of carbon credit receivables. The Indian project developers accept the product well. In close collaboration with the World Bank, the Carbon Credit Group offers a complete solution for the Indian chiller users to switch between high carbon chiller and low-carbon energy efficient chiller5.



Green finance:

Garza (2013)8 Concentrate on the strategic sustainable development based on the operational, tactical and strategic level for economic, environmental and social initiatives. This model resolved obvious challenges, such as waste reduction, green products, recycling and green strategies, among others.


Ng'ang'a, (2015)9 study showed that a company should strive to maximise exploitation by sharing them as many companies as possible with valuable resources. It is theory that the financial resources should be properly deployed. This allows the company to use financing as an internal resource. Green funding allows organisations to use financial resources not only to promote their competitiveness but also to promote sustainable development. This would make an organisation long-term competitive.


According to Achieng' (2016)10 the advantage of the Green Financial Strategy also include reducing business costs, reducing the deterioration of the environment and enhancing client base. Clean technology and prevention of pollution include most of the strategies adopted in large companies that have embraced green strategies. Organizations develop green finance strategies through the integration of green procurement financial goals and targets, green process innovation, green energy solution, green building, green logistics and sustainable production strategies. This ensures that company’s lower waste, cost and therefore enhance operational efficiency.


Babita and Priti (2019)11 in their study green funding for sustainable development in India has been investigated. Green funding has become a key component of both organisational development and the global preservation of the environment. The study is descriptive and is based in a number of government reports from the Indian government and other published reports from different sectors and investors in India. Findings show that the flow of funding to community, public, non-profitable organisations and the private sector for sustainable development is supported by green finance. However, due to a lack of knowledge and awareness among both employees and the public, the implementation of Green Finance is a challenge. The research suggests that the Indian government should take initiative in training, providing information and developing policies to improve public and private green finance.


Labanya Prakash Jena (2020) and Dhruba Purkayastha, (2021)12 both studied the advancement of green financial products/services for investors and depositors would be further accelerated with the formal definition, empowering banking institutions to assess their climate change opportunities and risks, and enhance information disclosure. These advantages would have immediate effects on green finance acceleration. India's definition of green finances could be formed by a combination of international practices, green economic principles, and stakeholder positions.


Green banking:

Jeucken and Bouma (1999)13 Four stages or bank attitudes towards sustainability were identified in their study. Firstly, defensive banks, in which banks are non-active and keep delaying or resist the new law because it can directly or indirectly harm the interest of banks. The stage two is preventive banking. In order to avoid any restrictions on the operations of the bank, the bank is required to respect legislation. The third phase is offensive banking, in which both internal and external activities are of concern to the banks. Banks are looking at the highest sustainable return rate under this phase and not at the highest returning financial rate.


Getzner and Kra¨uter (2004)14 the easiness of investors to invest in environmental related projects has been tested in their research paper. The main explanatory variables are education, income, awareness of the environment and expected profit.


Verma (2012)15 in his study he described the development of Indian banks promoting green by emphasising that green banking practises are now mainly incorporated in CSR by banks. His study, however, concluded that there were only a handful of green banking banks in India and that bank personnel and customers lacked awareness.


Jha and Bhome (2013)16 did similar study to test and enhance general knowledge of Green Banking. They conduct interviews and decide on certain measures that are needed in Green Banking with a specially developed questionnaire. The usual suggestions include on-line banking, green banking accounts (reducing the use of paper and reducing the pollutant in solar equipment investors), energy-saving installations (reducing the use of electricity in those using these options), paperless banking. The entire organisation will be given the green light to pursue an environmental policy.


Sudhalakshmi and Chinnadorai (2014)17 there have been very high environmental concentrations in emerging economies like India. At the same time, banking transactions are expanding rapidly. Banks have decided to have a green element in their operations. But the Indian banking system still has a long way to go to promote and develop green banks correctly. Indian banks are back in time by taking up this green phenomenon. Important steps have to be taken in this respect.


At policy level, Choudhury et al. (2014)18 advocates and suggests certain indications on the need for the stakeholders to influence green banking practise for government, all banking and the enterprise community.


The study by Bhardwaj and Malhotra (2014)19 focused on the correlation between performance of bank and adoption of green banking. The relationship among both the green banking and profitability of banks was positive.



The study is based purely on secondary data and the data has been collected from secondary source like published articles, websites, government and RBI report etc. A thorough literature review of different published works on green finance and green banking has been done.



Green Finance in Indian Scenario:

Green finance is a broad approach, but confusion still exists as to what green is precisely and which projects should all be classified under green financing. Green initiatives in India have been prioritised and identified as statutory requirement through corporate social responsibility by amending the Companies Act 2013 with the inclusion of green projects and initiatives for sustainable development. The Reserve Bank of India has also taken steps to categorise green finance into priority lending by Green Initiatives; about 40% of the total loans are for green energy only. In this field, Security Exchange Board of India has also made its presence recognised, by raising $7.15 billion in green bonds in 25 years20. In India, too, Green Banking plays an important role. As a mandatory standard, all banks have implemented their own unique green banking policies to enhance the market in terms of corporate social responsibility and green marketing initiatives. Some of the noteworthy greens banking efforts include long-term loans for solar energy projects for large companies, subvention of ICICI loans for hybrid and electric vehicles, solar ATMs and maximum non-paper transactions for most banks21, everything leads to a greener economy22.


Public policy in India:

In early 2007, India began to emphasis green finance. In December 2007, the Reserve Bank notified the Bank about the significance of environmental degradation and carbon emission in sustainable development on the "Corporate social responsibility, sustainable development and non-financial reports on the role of the banks". In 2008, a vision of the broader policy framework for climate change mitigation was drafted for the National Climate Change Plan (NAPCC)23. The Finance Unit on Climate Change (CCFU) was established as an agency which will coordinate among the various green finance institutions in India, as part of the Finance Ministry in 2011. Execution of the sustainability information requirements has been the key strategic step since 2012.


For the top 100 list entities with market capitalization at BSE and NSE, the Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) required the publication of and revision of annual business liability reports since 2012. SEBI provided directives for the issuance of green bond in May 2017, which specified the prerequisites for release of information. In addition, under the Company Act, 2013, the Ministry of Corp. imposed compulsory progress reporting on Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR). The Committee on Corp. Governance Report proposed in October 2017 that the Management Board will organize meeting once in a fiscal year to talk about specific strategies, budgets, panel assessments, risk management, ESG and succession planning. Many incentives have been implemented in our country. These promotions are consistent with India's 2015 Paris agreement commitment to reduce the severity of greenhouse gas emissions by 33% to 35% below 2005 levels and achieve 40% of the electricity set up in the non-fossil energy industry by 2030. The Indian Government (GoI) provides a tax incentive for organisational, residential and social sectors in most countries to provide 30% of the installed solar panels. The rebate is up to 70% of the installation costs in some of the specific category States. Beneficiaries can also benefit from an incentive based on generation in order to receive a sum of ₹2 per unit if the generation exceeds 1100 kWh to 1500 kWh each year. In addition, the government can sell excess power at a tariff set.      


In 2015-2019 the Government of India introduced two phases of the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme to enhance the credit flow, cut prices of all automobiles in the earlier phase and invest in infrastructure (such as charges) to promote production and sales of automobiles. The State Bank of India initiated a green car loans scheme with a 20 basis point with low interest rates and long payback options relative to current car loans, with the objective of counteracting the high upfront cost of such vehicles23. In addition, the Reserve Bank has taken constructive policy actions to encourage and develop green financing initiatives


Government stated its target in September 2019 of generating 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. By providing regular reports and other communication, the Reserve Bank sensitises the citizens, banks, and financer about the needs, potential threat in this field. The G-20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG14) reported in its annual report (2015-16), for example, the call for local green bond market development, facilitate intercontinental green bond investment, share information of potential consequences and significantly improve green finance activities. It recognises the challenges in developing green finance, such as 'greenwashing' or falsifying environmental compliance claims, multiple interpretations, maturity mixes between long-term green investment and investor interests.


The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) announces strategies to establish itself as country’s first green bank by May 2016 as part of the green banking institutions. India Infrastructure Finance Corporation Limited (IIFCL) has a unique credit enhancement programme to support viable infrastructure projects over five years with bond tenors23.


Figure 424: Distribution of green finance by source (Data for 2016-17 and 2018-19)


From the above figure, it’s very clear that the highest amount of funding in the field of green economy is done by banking sectors which is around 39%.


Green Banking Strategies:

Indian financial institution has launched and initiated many schemes to promote green financing and green banking which are follows;


1. Paperless Banking:

Carbon footprint is a Green House gas measure (GHG). Nearly every bank in India is computerised or runs a core banking solution (CBS). So, banks have ample scope for paper-free or less paper-based banking to be adopted. These banks are able to switch to electronic mail.


2. Green Banking Financial Products:

Banks are offering Funds which has been named ad “Green Fund” for climate conscious clients to invest in eco-friendly projects. The institutions can also provide loans with the same motive projects and products like green housing projects, installation of solar energy systems, green building projects.


3. Services Related to Social Responsibilities:

To sensitise commoners about the environment related issues, banks stared many campaigns like tree plantation, park maintenance, check-up camps for pollution, etc.


4. Green Building:

The Indian banking industry has more than a lakh building facilities throughout the country for its offices and residential houses. These banks are promoting development and use green buildings to accommodate their office and staff. A green building utilises less energy, water and natural resources, generates less disposal and is better than a standard building for its inhabitants. These initiatives has not only decrease banks' carbon footprint, they will also significantly save operating costs.


6. Car pooling technique:

Banking institutions can adopt common transportation facilities for staff working in same location or office to minimise the carbon emission25.


Role of the Government in green banking:

As the financer of economic and development activities all over the world, the financial institutions also act as a key player in fostering sustainable global expansion in addition to industry and agriculture. In this respect the idea of green banking emerged and is identified as an essential strategy to tackle sustainable issues and to raise people's environmental responsibility awareness. Two green banking dimensions:


First, paperless banking is promoted as much s possible and the banks are making sure to go for paperless banking. The apex body has issued many guidelines towards this issue. The second feature of green banking is where and how much it is putting its money in eco-friendly projects and lending its finance to the organizations that are already committed towards such kind of green projects. But RBI has no particular guidelines for institutions which promote green banking. Commercial banking was more considerate to investment than the climatic problems arising due to such investments; environmental debts would play a major role in the bank plan to invest in the near future. In addition, environmental evaluations are needed to set up a plant, property and operations' environment status. A separate body or environmental investigation team should be established to identify status of laws and regulatory policies, past current tribulations and impending ecological risk and responsibilities linked with the projects25.


Limitations of Green Finance in India:      

Literature and global experiences indicate that an integrative and holistic strategy to green finance is steadily gaining traction. Though there has been progress awareness among common people as well as options for green financing in the country, in this segment, we will go over issues in greater detail and examine some potential policy solutions:


1.   Lack of clear guidelines on green fund issuance: In India, there is no clearly delineated guideline on the process and requirements for green fund issuance. Many of these funds fall short of international standards. As a result, it makes it difficult for foreign companies to invest these funds.

2.   Issuers’ lack of awareness of green bond markets: Because of the relative paucity of established principles and guidelines, some lenders may be unaware of the green bond market's potential. The number of experienced professionals in India for the issuance and strategic planning of green investment funds is limited.

3.   Limited pipeline of projects: Many traders and investors have identified very few financially successful projects that would entice them to enter the Indian market. Some investors regard the green fund idea as loss investment activities. They did not anticipate any growth or liquidity from their green fund investment.

4.   Lack of fiscal incentives: At the moment, there are no tax benefits appended to green bonds in India, like in some other countries that provide tax benefits and subsidies for green fund investment.

5.   The mental attitude of the investors: Regular investors anticipate higher returns on their scarce funds. Green fund investments, according to investors, did not offer satisfactory investment returns, or liquidity. As a result, they are uninterested in investing in green projects26.



(1)           Strict policies are important- The more environmentally friendly will be national policies, it will be more convenient to resolve area specific risks and achieve rationality and steadiness between two governing bodies. The policy is especially significant when it comes to offer price to non-localized environmental externalities like GHG emissions. Furthermore, in many countries, reforming urban revenue sources necessitates central government intervention.

(2)           No central government intervention in local initiatives- Though central governing body experiences difficulties in instantaneously implementing comprehensive changes, they can do so by repealing existing policies that limit the ability of neighbourhood governing body to take action.

(3)           Simple policy system- The policy system for green finance should be very simple and can be easily understood like simple taxation policy, easy loan procedure, etc.

(4)           Policies related to transportation- A strict policy system should be established to control the pollution related problems like hike in vehicle tariff especially in peak hours and heavy traffic areas so that people can switch to greener option like using of public transport, car pulling, etc.

(5)           Intergovernmental grants should, where possible, take environmental goals into account- This will assist cities in compensating for the prospective cost of green actions. Particular grants can pay off local government for the spill over effects of policies related to environment that impose indigenous charges but produce extensive gains.

(6)           Exposure to additional forms of green finance requires collaboration between local and central authority- There are several prospective tools are there for leveraging no-public capital in maintaining greenery in urban areas and affiliating private financing with policy objectives. Private-public collaboration, green bonds, and green building banks are example of these. However, they all raise the possibilities of inadequate size, asymmetric information, and opportunistic behaviour. Cities must work together with the help of central to assemble competence and also to make sure that they have sufficient necessary financial, technical, and professional in this area with ample negotiating expertise when dealing with private-sector5.



According to the paper, green finance is a new concept that is being adopted by developed countries. There is a need to create a framework for utilising green finance. The adoption of green finance in India has revealed challenges in organisational and public knowledge awareness. This is a problem that developing countries are anticipating. Green finance, according to the paper, entails integrating fund allocation with green strategies such as green building, green structures, green supply, green logistics, green manufacturing, green purchasing, and green activities. Organizations can maintain economic, social, and environmental sustainability as a result of these applications. There was a strong link between green finance and social, environmental, and economic finance. This was discovered through a connection between green finance and clean, resilient, and inclusive environmental benefit. It was also discovered that there is a cost savings as a result of the use of recycling, reuse, and environmentally friendly products. Green finance, on the other hand, benefits society through job creation and other forms of development.


To summarise, the definition of development is rapidly changing today. The feeling is growing that we need to reorder our priorities and move away from the one-dimensional model that has viewed economic performance solely in terms of growth (GDP), without taking into account the social and environmental sustainability of our growth. Banks, like corporate clients, have recognised that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand as organisations look to cut costs, streamline operations, and develop long-term processes. In terms of green banking, India's banks and financial institutions are lagging with the times. Still many challenges are there which can only be eradicated with the help of proper guidelines issued by banking institutions time to time.



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Received on 10.12.2021         Modified on 20.03.2022

Accepted on 13.05.2022      ©AandV Publications All right reserved

Asian Journal of Management. 2022;13(3):227-234.

DOI: 10.52711/2321-5763.2022.00040