The Principles for Responsible Banking have officially been launched by leading banks and the United Nations, with 130 banks signing up to adopt these principles. The banks collectively hold US$47 trillion in assets, or one third of the global banking sector.
The Principles, which have been in development and consultation for more than eight months, were as part of activities of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. The banks have committed to strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals, and massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both.
The Principles are supported by a strong implementation framework that defines clear accountabilities and requires each bank to set, publish and work towards ambitious targets.
“The UN Principles for Responsible Banking are a guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy. The Principles create the accountability that can realise responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action.” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, at the launch event attended by the 130 Founding Signatories and over 45 of their CEOs.
“A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, it can benefit from it,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as solution, everybody wins in the long-term.”