The banking sector plays a crucial role in promoting sustainable development. It can lead the way to a more sustainable economy by lending to economic activities that yield the best return from society’s point of view and by guiding customers and stakeholders to manage social and environmental challenges and opportunities. At UNEP FI, we work hand in hand with our member banks to increase lending that supports socially and environmentally sustainable economic activities. Indeed we have supported 28 of those members to create the Principles for Responsible Banking, which aim to transform the banking industry to enable it to play a leading role in achieving society’s goals as expressed in the Sustainable Development goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Starting with only a few pioneer commercial banks, UNEP-FI’s Banking Programme can now rely on and assist a strong international banking network of over 130 leading banks across the world. Our membership is composed of top international banks, regional leaders, development banks and specialized environmental banks. At UNEP FI, it is our members, through the Banking Committee, which is composed of senior executives from our member banks, that steer the overall strategy and activities of the Banking Programme to lead this change towards becoming sustainable financial institutions. Therefore, our work is closely tailored to the actual needs and interests of our membership and more globally those of the banking sector.

Over the past few years, our work has fallen into the following broad categories of: providing technical research and guidance on sustainable banking tools and practices, spearheading and supporting leadership initiatives, working with members and experts to develop new concepts, methodologies and approaches and promoting policy dialogue and engagement. For a more in-depth description of our current activities, please click on the tabs listed on the right-hand side.

UNEP FI’s banking members and our banking-related work are supported by our four dedicated thematic expert teams:

Climate Risk & Performance
Climate Change is one of UNEP FI’s core themes. The key areas of focus for banking practitioners include:

Natural Capital Risk & Valuation
Ecosystems Management is organized first and foremost through the Natural Capital Finance Alliance, a partnership with the Global Canopy Programme. Key areas of focus for banking practitioners include:

Banking & Human Rights
Over the years, UNEP FI has developed guidance on
human rights and broader social issues and is actively supporting the exploration of the links between environmental issues such as climate change and human rights / social issues. Key resources for banking practitioners include:

Positive impact
The Positive Impact Initiative aims to promote impact-based financing through new business models and financial products. By virtue of a holistic appraisal of sustainability issues, Positive Impact Finance constitutes a direct response to the challenge of financing the Sustainable Development Goals. Key resources for banking practitioners include:

Training and professional development
UNEP FI has a range of training offerings, both online and in workshop format, covering several themes. For further information on each of these services, please visit the Sustainable Finance Training section.

Contact

Simone Dettling
simone.dettling@un.org

  • Japan Launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking

    Following the global launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking on 22 September 2019 at the United Nations in New York with 130 banks collectively holding USD 47 trillion in assets signed up, UNEP Finance Initiative together with the Japanese Principles for Financial Action (PFA), a Japan nation-wide sustainable finance forum, held a Japan launch […]

  • Driving Change, Realizing Impact: Launching the Principles for Responsible Banking

    The banking industry is launching the Principles for Responsible Banking on the 23rd of September in New York City. Hosted by the 30 founding banks, the event will bring together banking sector and global thought leaders as well as environmental and development experts to explore the implementation and impact potential of the newly launched Principles for Responsible Banking.

  • Principles for Responsible Banking Consultation Workshop in Vietnam

    State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and GIZ hosted a UNEP FI’s Principles for Responsible Banking Consultation Workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam. The workshop was chaired by Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Kim Anh, Deputy Governor of the SBV. Over 60 participants including representatives from 17 financial institutions attended. During the workshop, SBV also presented the results from the […]

  • Malaysia Responsible Banking Engagement and Sharing Session

    CIMB Group, one of 28 founding banks of the Principles for Responsible Banking, hosted a Malaysia Responsible Banking Engagement and Sharing Session in collaboration with the Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia (AIBIM) and the Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM). Mr. Rafe Haneef, CEO, CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd led the event participated by […]

  • Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative Launch

    UNEP Finance Initiative, as a Knowledge Partner, participated in the launch of the Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative on 21 January 2019 in Singapore. Together with CIMB, UNEP FI’s member in Malaysia, it presented on UNEP FI and the Principles for Responsible Banking. The Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative aims to help shift Asia’s financial flows towards sustainable economic, […]

  • New Guide to Empower Banks To Assess Natural Capital Risk Launching in South Africa

    Johannesburg will see the African launch of the world’s first step-by-step guide to help banks conduct a rapid natural capital risk assessment by the Natural Capital Finance Alliance (NCFA).  The guide is produced in collaboration with global audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The guide has already been piloted by five banks, including FirstRand Group and the Development Bank of Southern Africa and promotes the use of the […]

  • Webinar: Launch of natural capital risk tool and framework for financial institutions

    The Natural Capital Finance Alliance, funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the MAVA Foundation, has come up with tools and insights to help practitioners identify material natural capital risks and opportunities within their portfolios and integrate these considerations into financial decision making. The webinar will provide an overview of the recently launched ENCORE tool (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks and Exposure). It also marks the official online launch of the NCFA’s latest report produced by PwC, which applies the ENCORE tool to develop a natural capital assessment framework for enhanced portfolio risk management in banks.

  • Webinar: Hear from participants in UNEP FI’s pilot implementing TCFD Recommendations with 16 banks

    This Webinar will discuss the results of a collaboration between sixteen of the world’s leading banks with UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and climate risk and adaptation advisory firm Acclimatise. The banks set out to develop and test a widely applicable scenario-based approach for estimating the impact of climate change on their corporate lending portfolios as recommended by the Recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Hear directly from the banks, climate consultants and UNEP FI secretariat involved in this project.

  • Webinar: Learn more about the first guidance to help the banking industry adopt the TCFD Recommendations

    Sixteen banks working in collaboration with UNEP FI, risk and investment management experts, and leading scientists have recently published a jointly developed methodology that will enable banks to be more transparent about their exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities, in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

    Join this webinar to hear more about the methodology for scenario-based assessment of risks and opportunities from the transition to a low-carbon economy.

  • Sustainable Investment Forum Europe: Financing Innovation for a Low Carbon Future

    Building on the success of its Forum in New York, Climate Action is bringing the Sustainable Investment Forum to Europe in March 2018 in partnership with UNEP FI.
    The European Forum will welcome 250+ high-level decision-makers from the finance community, European governments and think tanks to meet, network, share ideas and discuss concrete solutions to the current challenges of the European and global climate finance market.

  • Introductory Training Workshop on Environmental and Social Risk Analysis in Ecuador

    UNEP FI/Ecobanking will conduct an Introductory Environmental and Social Risk Analysis training workshop. This training session will take place in Guayaquill on the 23th of November.

  • Introductory Training Workshop on Environmental and Social Risk Analysis in Ecuador

    UNEP FI/Ecobanking will conduct an Introductory Environmental and Social Risk Analysis training workshop, in collaboration with ASOBANCA, Ministry of Environment of Ecuador and PNUD. This training session will take place in Quito on the 21th of November.

  • Introductory Seminar on Environmental and Social Risk Analysis in Egypt

    UNEP FI/Ecobanking will conduct an Introductory Environmental and Social Risk Analysis training workshop, in collaboration with the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI). This training session will take place in Cairo on the 15th of November.

  • Workshop On Opportunities And Challenges Of The Banking Sector For The Financing Of Distributed Photovoltaic Generation Projects In Chile

    El Workshop “Financiamiento de Energía Solar Distribuida en Chile: Una gran Oportunidad para la Banca PYME Nacional” se llevará a cabo por la primera vez el 16 de noviembre en Santiago de Chile. El taller es organizado por ONU Medio Ambiente Iniciativa Financiera (UNEP FI), Fundación Chile y Fraunhofer Chile.

  • Third Stakeholder Meeting of the EMF-ECBC Energy Efficiency Mortgages Initiative

    UNEP FI supports the Energy Efficient Mortgage Initiative launched last year by the European Mortgage Federation- European Covered Bond Council (EMF-ECBC) which will have its third stakeholder meeting and kick off of the Energy Efficient Mortgages Action Plan on June 9.

  • Launch of the Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Principles for Positive Impact Finance were launched 19 leading banks and investors totaling $6.6 trillion in assets in Paris on January 30th 2017. The programme of the event is available here.

    Read the press release in English and in French.

  • Principles for Responsible Banking

    The Principles for Responsible Banking provide the much-needed framework for the sustainable banking system of the future – and enable the banking industry to demonstrate how it makes a positive contribution to society. They have been developed by a core group of 30 banks from five countries, and are designed to guide any bank – […]

  • A Journey towards a sustainable financial system: Luxembourg Sustainable Finance Roadmap

    The aim of this Roadmap is to set a vision and lay the groundwork to establish a comprehensive and far-reaching sustainable finance strategy contributing to the Agenda 2030 and towards the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This Roadmap is ambitious in terms of Luxembourg’s contributions to sustainable development and climate action, it is forward looking […]

  • Navigating a New Climate: Assessing Credit Risk and Opportunity in a Changing Climate

    Outputs of a working group of 16 banks piloting the TCFD Recommendations Part 2: Physical-related risks and opportunities This report is the result of a collaboration between sixteen of the world’s leading banks with UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and climate risk and adaptation advisory firm Acclimatise. The banks set out to develop and […]

  • Exploring Metrics to Measure the Climate Progress of Banks

    Assessing and reporting on the transition to a low carbon economy is a key area of interest for public- and private-sector banks. In the months preceding the United Nations climate change conference in Paris in 2015, many of the world’s leading banks made commitments to either decrease the financing of “climate problems” or increase the […]

  • Extending our Horizons: Assessing Credit Risk and Opportunity in a Changing Climate

    Outputs of a working group of 16 banks piloting the TCFD Recommendations Part I: Transition-related risks and opportunities This report is the result of a collaboration between sixteen of the world’s leading banks with UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and management consultancies Oliver Wyman and Mercer to pilot scenario-based assessments of transition-related risks and […]

  • El Desarrollo Sostenible en el Sistema Bancario de Ecuador – Sustainable Development in the Ecuadorian Banking System

    El presente estudio realizado por la Iniciativa Financiera de ONU Medio Ambiente (UNEP FI) y CAF – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina, muestra el esfuerzo realizado por las instituciones de la banca nacional e internacionales que operan en Ecuador, las cuales integran prácticas de sostenibilidad en sus operaciones, apoyando de esa forma la transición […]

  • El Desarrollo Sostenible en el Sistema Bancario de Argentina- Sustainable Development in the Argentine Banking System

    El presente estudio realizado por la Iniciativa Financiera de ONU Ambiente (UNEP FI) y CAF – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina, muestra el esfuerzo realizado por las instituciones de la banca nacional y de bancos internacionales que operan en Argentina, en su camino hacia el desarrollo sostenible. La muestra de estudio representa aproximadamente el […]

  • Drought Stress Testing Tool

    The ‘Drought Stress Testing Tool’ enables banks to assess if a client may be at risk from drought and how drought can affect a sector or region. A clearer understanding of the risk associated with droughts can help build more resilient financial institutions, and by shifting finance to less vulnerable sectors and regions, economies can become […]

  • Desarollo Sostenible En El Sistema Bancario Chileno – Sustainable Development in the Chilean Banking System

    El presente estudio realizado por la Iniciativa Financiera de ONU Ambiente (UNEP FI) y CAF – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina, muestra el esfuerzo realizado por las instituciones de la banca nacional y de bancos internacionales que operan en Chile, en su camino hacia el desarrollo sostenible. La muestra de estudio representa aproximadamente el […]

  • Principles for Positive Impact Finance

    The Principles for Positive Impact Finance provide guidance for financiers and investors to analyse, monitor and disclose the social, environmental and economic impacts of the financial products and services they deliver. They provide a global framework applicable across different business lines, including retail and wholesale lending, corporate and investment lending, and asset management. The Principles require […]

  • Guide to Banking and Sustainability – Edition 2

    The Guide to Banking and Sustainability (“Guide”) is a high-level, functional overview of what a sustainable bank looks like from inside and to the outside. Who and what is it meant for? The Guide is first and foremost a tool for banking practitioners themselves. It is meant as an awareness-raising, integration and outreach tool for: […]

  • Banks and Human Rights: A Legal Analysis

    Examining banking and human rights from a UN Guiding Principles, hard law and soft law perspective

  • Positive Impact Manifesto

    The Positive Impact Manifesto invites banks and other financial sector players to think more holistically about their role in the economy, society and the broader environment, and proposes a ‘Roadmap’ to establishing a new, impact-based and market-driven paradigm: positive impact finance. Positive Impact finance is defined in the Manifesto as “that which verifiably produces a […]

  • Banking & Sustainability: Time for Convergence

    In 2014, the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL, working with and on behalf of the Banking Environment Initiative – BEI) commissioned a study entitled, “Stability and Sustainability in Banking Reform – Are Environmental Risks Missing in Basel III?“. The study was conceived in recognition of […]

  • Stability & Sustainability in Banking Reform: Are Environmental Risks Missing in Basel III?

    In 2014, UNEP FI undertook a research project on Basel III and environmental risk in collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), the Banking & Environment Initiative (BEI) and supported by Bloomberg LP. The result of this work has been the release of the report Stability & Sustainability in Banking Reform: Are Environmental […]

  • Integracion de la sostenabilidad en las instituciones financieras Latinoamericanas

    The most far-reaching study on sustainability in the Latin American banking sector ever undertaken

  • UNEP FI Guide to Banking & Sustainability

    Understanding and Implementing Sustainability in your Bank based on the UNEP Statement of Commitment by Financial Institutions on Sustainable Development

  • Biodiversity offsets and the mitigation hierarchy: a review of current application in the banking sector

    A review of the business case, loan conditions and current practice in financial institutions

  • Banking On Value: A New Approach to Credit Risk in Africa

    Examines the uptake of sustainable finance in Africa’s largest financial hubs – South Africa and Nigeria

  • Unlocking Value: The scope for environmental, social and governance issues in private banking

    Explores the opportunities and barriers of the inclusion of ESG-issues in private banking.

  • Global Climate Change: Risk to Bank Loans

    Does climate change pose a risk to bank loan portfolios? Which debt sectors are most likely to be impacted? What strategies can banks employ to reduce its impact?

  • CEO Briefing: Sustainability Banking in Africa

    Analysis and examples of the finance sector’s role in promoting sustainability in Africa.

  • Sustainability Banking in Africa

    The role of the financial sector in Africa in promoting sustainability.