The UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and 28 banks launched the Principles for Responsible Banking for public consultation at the end of November 2018. The principles will determine the role and responsibilities of the banking sector in shaping a sustainable future. By keeping to the new framework, banks will align their activities with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate agreement.
The principles set the global standard for what it means to be a responsible bank and will ensure that banks create value for both their shareholders and society. They provide the first global framework to guide the integration of sustainability into all business areas of a bank, from strategic to portfolio to transaction level. By signing the Principles for Responsible Banking when they are launched in September 2019, banks will commit themselves to public liability for their significant positive and negative social, environmental and economic impact.
By developing the set of principles, the 28 founding banks have formulated a clear goal for the banking industry itself and enable investors, policymakers and regulators, customers and civil society to compare banks and account for their ecological, social and economic position. Signing the Principles will be a serious obligation: banks that continuously fail to meet the requirements will be removed from the list of signatories.
Signing the Principles for Responsible Banking is something that all banks that are genuinely involved in sustainability should consider regardless of their starting point. The principles now enter into a six months global consultation period and stakeholders around the world are invited to support the principles and provide input for their further development.