More than 130 banks have signed up to a global partnership between banks and the UNEP Finance Initiative, to align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Launched at the start of UN Climate Week, in New York, the new Principles of Responsible Banking initiative was drawn up by major global banks including BNP Paribas, Natixis, Nordea, Santander and Societe Generale.
The group of bank signatories collectively hold some $47 trillion in assets, the equivalent to one third of the global banking sector.
The PRB requires signatories to be transparent about the impact of their products and services on society, the economy and the environment. The banks also promise to work with partners and clients to encourage sustainable practices. Swiss sustainable bank J. Safra Sarasin was among the founding signatories.
Edmond Michaan, CEO of Bank J. Safra Sarasin said: “Signing the UNEP FI’s Principles for Responsible Banking is another clear commitment by Bank J. Safra Sarasin to sustainability. For us, sustainability is an integral part of our core values and aligning ourselves with the Principles makes strategic business sense.”
Michaan said that sustainable returns can only be achieved if the livelihood of future generations are preserved.
Jan Amrit Poser, chief strategist and head of sustainability at the bank, added: “We welcome the Principles for introducing a framework that guides the banking industry in integrating environmental and societal challenges and impacts into business strategy.
“We believe that the Bank’s early commitment to the Principles will further position us as a responsible, long-term oriented bank and provide for more impactful action for the industry in the future,” Poser said.