Yannis Stournaras: Thoughts on climate neutrality, circularity and sustainable finance

Keynote speech by Mr Yannis Stournaras, Governor of the Bank of Greece, at the Athens Circular Forum II, Athens, 31 May 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
31 May 2021

It is a great pleasure to be here with you today and have the opportunity to share my thoughts on climate neutrality, circularity and sustainable finance.

Economic growth has come at a growing cost to the environment. It is telling that humanity's demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year, in fact we need more than 1.5 planets to support our current consumption patterns. Sustainability is therefore highly relevant for our generation, as well as for generations to come, and redefining the concept of growth in a sustainability context will be crucial for our future path.

Under conditions of depletion of natural resources worldwide, a focus on more efficient use and minimisation of waste emerges as the only and urgent option. The model of a "linear" economy prevailing today (sourcing – manufacturing – usage – disposal), on which most economies since the Industrial Revolution have relied, is no longer sustainable. Just like nature, which operates in a "circular" manner, business activities can become sustainable by switching from the "linear" model to a "circular" one. Circular economy means that the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible and waste generation is minimised.