Banking trust and changing expectations in recent times have resulted in banks around the world coming together to develop the Principles for Responsible Banking, together with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
Ahead of the official launch on 22 September at the United Nations General Assembly, the Principles have already been endorsed by more than 100 banks & other institutions globally.
The Principles will guide a bank to integrate sustainability across all its business areas and enable them to support and meet the sustainability goals and standards set by their customers, clients, investors and society-at-large. They also set out the banking industry’s role and responsibility in shaping a sustainable future and in aligning the banking sector with the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
Following a six-month consultation the final official versions were released of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking and their supporting framework documents.
Principles for Responsible Banking
The six Principles for Responsible Banking are:
1. Alignment – We will align our business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks.
2. Impact & Target Setting – We will continuously increase our positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from our activities, products and services. To this end, we will set and publish targets where we can have the most significant impacts.
3. Clients & Customers – We will work responsibly with our clients and our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
4. Stakeholders We will proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals.
5. Governance & Culture – We will implement our commitment to these Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking.
6. Transparency & Accountability – We will periodically review our individual and collective implementation of these Principles and be transparent about and accountable for our positive and negative impacts and our contribution to society’s goals.
The 30 Founding Banks are: Access Bank, AAIB, Banco Pichincha, Banorte, Barclays, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Bradesco, CIB, CIMB, Citi, First Rand, Garanti, Golomt Bank, Hana Financial Group, ICBC, ING, KCB, Land Bank, National Australia Bank, Natixis, Nordea, Piraeus, Santander, Shinhan, Standard Bank, Société Générale, Triodos Bank, Westpac and Yes Bank.
Additional banks that have committed to the Principles, to date, include: ABN AMRO, Alex Bank, Amalgamated Bank, Arion Bank, Banco de Fomento Agropecuario (BFA), Banco Galicia, Banco General, Banco Guayaquil, Banco Hipotecario, Banco Sabadell, Bankia, BBVA Argentina, BCC Grupo Cooperativo Cajamar, Beneficial State, BMCE, Caixa, Coopeservidores, Credit Agricole, Danske Bank, Desjardins, DGB Financial Group, DNB, Eurobank, GLS Bank, IDLC, Itaú Unibanco, Jaiz Bank, Julius Baer, Jyske Bank, KB Financial Group, KBC Group, Keystone, La Banque Postale, LABORAL Kutxa, Landsbankinn, Lloyds, Maha Agriculture Microfinance, Polaris Bank, Produbanco, Sovcombank, SpareBank 1 Østlandet, Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC), Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings/Bank, WEMA Bank and Zenith Bank.