Frank Elderson: Integrating the climate and environmental challenge into the missions of central banks and supervisors

Speech by Mr Frank Elderson, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) and Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board of the ECB, at the 8th Conference on the Banking Union, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, 23 September 2021.

Central bank speech  | 
24 September 2021

Many thanks for your kind introduction and for having me here today at this 8th Conference on the Banking Union. I am especially happy to be here, for this is the first time since I joined the European Central Bank last December that I am joining in a conference on site. It shows that we are indeed making progress in moving closer towards a world after the pandemic, which is the topic of this session of the conference. That being said, we are not there yet, and we are all certainly mindful of the many risks to global public health that currently still remain. This is also the first speech that I am making in a more traditional conference setting since moving to Frankfurt. And I am proud and humbled to deliver it in the university named after Frankfurt's most renowned son and standing alongside the many past board members of the European Central Bank who have visited this house of Goethe over the years.

When preparing this address, I went back as far as April 1999 when, for the first time, a member of the ECB's Executive Board spoke at Goethe University. The board member was Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, and he was delivering the address on the occasion of his being appointed honorary professor of the University - a position he held until his passing in late 2010. The ECB had just been founded, and the Governing Council had adopted the institution's first monetary policy strategy. At Goethe University, Professor Padoa-Schioppa spoke of "new challenges for old missions", referring to a number of daunting developments that the newly born central bank of the euro area would be facing. In my address today, I will not dwell on the challenges that Professor Padoa-Schioppa identified back in 1999. They were certainly topical and some continue to carry relevance even today. What I want to emphasise here is the notion he conveyed that central bankers – and I would add supervisors – should always be mindful of the circumstances in which they will pursue their tasks and fulfil their responsibilities in the years to come. This message resonates strongly in the activities through which the ECB delivers on its mandate, in particular with respect to the key challenge that we are facing today and that will be the key topic of my address: the ongoing climate and environmental crisis.