ECB’s green return starts with its employees: “We don’t need anyone who is not an environmentalist”

The green turning point of the European economy begins with ECB employees. Or at least that’s what Frank Elderson, one of six board members of the European Central Bank, wants. “I don’t want these people anymore,” the senior official reportedly said during an internal meeting, referring to those who did not share the Frankfurt institute’s ecological goals. As Politico reported, earlier this month Dutch Elderson allegedly asked employees: “Why should we hire people we need to reprogram? Because they come from top universities but they still don’t know how to spell the word ‘climate’.”

Lagarde tries to mediate

Christine Lagarde agreed with her Dutch counterpart but tried to mediate. “I support Frank,” he said, adding that “I and others value diversity in the organization I lead,” noting that diversity means “diversity of thought and diversity of backgrounds,” among other things. But employees described Elderson’s comments as “authoritarian” and fatal to the culture of diversity and inclusion. “I thought these values ​​were part of the culture of this institution,” one staff member commented, according to Politico.

Character

Frank Elderson is a Dutch lawyer who, before joining the ECB, was managing director of audit at De Nederlandsche Bank and an official member of the ECB Supervisory Board. Throughout his career, he has always advocated for a more active role for central banks in combating climate change, making the Dutch National Bank a leading player in this field. In 2016, he founded and chaired the Sustainable Finance Platform, a forum hosted by the Dutch National Bank that brings together central bankers, government officials and civil society groups. In 2017, Elderson was appointed as the first chair of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a network of 114 central banks and financial supervisors that aims to accelerate the roll-out of green finance and develop advice on the role of central banks. climate change field.

Discussion

The debate fits into a broader framework of the role the ECB should play in the European continent’s green transition. “The debate on greening the central bank has become so polarized that a critical discussion has become difficult,” said Daniel Gros, director of the European Policy Institute at Bocconi University in Milan. “If you criticize, you are immediately accused of being anti-climate. I have personally had this experience on more than one occasion,” he added.

On Elderson’s other side of the fence is the ECB’s Pierre Wunsch, a member of the institution’s executive board and governor of the Belgian Central Bank. Last year, after the ECB expressed doubts about whether some of its operations were meeting climate targets, 20 environmental groups sent a letter to King Philippe of Belgium, demanding that he not be given a second term in office. In short, on the one hand, there are supporters of a greener European Central Bank that embraces the idea of ​​ethical finance and takes climate goals into account in its monetary policy choices, and on the other hand, there are defenders of the traditional role of banks. The ECB’s primary goal is therefore (and should remain) price stability in the eurozone, regardless of climate targets.

Source: Today IT

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