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 30 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 170 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

12 January 2021

World’s Young Bankers Compete to Solve Climate Emergency

The 2021 edition of the Young Banker of the Year Competition, the most prestigious annual event for leading young bankers, was launched today by the Chartered Banker Institute, and is supported by United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). This year, for the first time in its 30 plus years history, the competition will be truly global, with the Chartered Banker Institute inviting nominations from its 30,000 members, and more widely across the globe from individuals and international banking institutions (including building societies, credit unions and fintechs).

20 October 2020

Calling civil society groups to join Principles for Responsible Banking advisory body

Principles for Responsible Banking is first finance sector initiative to put into practice signatories’ commitments to robust accountability and broad engagement with establishment of Civil Society Advisory Body Signatories to the Principles for Responsible Banking commit to proactively consult with their stakeholders and to be transparent about and accountable for their positive and negative impacts…

24 September 2020

Transition Check: New Online Tool to Assess Transition Risk

UNEP FI and Oliver Wyman launch ‘Transition Check’, a web-tool that takes a scenario-based approach for assessing transition risk. As businesses consider the impacts of climate change on their long-term sustainability, it has remained difficult to measure such risks – until now. Introducing Transition Check, a web-tool that takes a scenario-based approach for assessing transition…

21 September 2020

UN Principles for Responsible Banking – One Year On: Progress on Impementation

One year on: Coalition of signatory banks, civil society shares progress implementing the UN Principles for Responsible Banking   Exactly one year ago, on 22 September 2019, more than 130 banks in the presence of the UN Secretary General signed the first-ever global sustainability framework for the banking industry: the UN Principles for Responsible Banking.…

8 September 2020

UNEP FI launches “Charting a New Climate”, a report on physical climate risks and opportunities from Phase II of its TCFD Banking Programme

8 September 2020 – UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has released a report on physical climate risks and opportunities from Phase II of its Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Banking Programme with climate risk advisory and analytics firm, Acclimatise. The report, “Charting a New Climate”, provides a state-of-the-art blueprint to support…

3 June 2020

BLOG: After the Pandemic, what are the Opportunities and Challenges for the Circular Economy?

There is growing momentum to ensure the recovery from the global pandemic shifts the economy to a more sustainable model and enables the transition to a circular economy post-2020. In their blog, Jan Raes, a circular economy finance expert who drafted our study Demystifying Circular Economy Finance, supported by Aliyorbek Muminov in UNEP FI’s Secretariat,…

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17 November 2020 | Webinar

Webinar: Managing impacts and developing positive impact finance products

Financial regulators and policy makers in South East Asia are increasingly turning to financial institutions to support their national sustainable development plans and the growing ESG investor community are expecting banks and businesses to contribute to societal goals such as the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement. But how does a bank know and show…

12 June 2020 | Webinar

Workshop on banking and human rights for ASEAN-region banks (By invitation only)

Join us on a virtual introductory workshop on banking and human rights issues for ASEAN banks. It will include an overview of human rights issues related to businesses in ASEAN and how this relates to banks under both hard and soft laws; how banks in the region are tackling human rights; and a live exercise to develop an ASEAN human rights risk heatmap with the help of experts. The workshop is side event of the UN Virtual Forum on Responsible Business and Human Rights, 9-12 June.

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Collective Commitment to Climate Action: Year One in Review

The Collective Commitment to Climate Action (CCCA) is the most ambitious global banking sector initiative supporting the transition to a net zero economy by 2050. It brings together a leadership group of 38 banks from across all six continents who have committed to align their portfolios with the global climate goal to limit warming to…

Beyond the Horizon: New Tools and Frameworks for Transition Risk Assessments from UNEP FI’s TCFD Banking Programme

Beyond the Horizon: New Tools and Frameworks for Transition Risk Assessments from UNEP FI’s TCFD Banking Programme Thirty-nine global financial institutions from six continents participated in UNEP FI’s second TCFD banking programme. Through this yearlong engagement, the participating banks collaborated with climate risk experts and each other to improve financial assessments of transition risk. In…

Climate Risk Applications: Guidance and Practices

From Disclosure to Action: Applying TCFD principles throughout financial institutions Recent reports from the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) indicate how the financial sector has increasingly recognized climate risk as a financial risk. Financial institutions must respond to the threat of climate change by identifying, assessing,…

UNEP FI and IIF’s “TCFD Report Playbook”

UNEP FI and the Institute of International Finance (IIF) have developed a TCFD Playbook to serve as a resource for firms at different stages of their TCFD journey, with support from EY. The organisations conducted a joint initiative to assist banks and other financial institutions in their efforts to strengthen climate risk disclosures by convening…

Charting a New Climate: TCFD Banking Programme Report

Charting a New Climate: State-of-the-art tools and data for banks to assess credit risks and opportunities from physical climate change impacts Charting a New Climate is a report on physical climate risks and opportunities from Phase II of its Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Banking Programme with climate risk advisory and analytics firm,…

Cómo los bancos incorporan el cambio climático en su gestión de riesgos

This report aims to present the survey results of “How the Banks of Latin America and the Caribbean (in Spanish, ALC) incorporate climate change in their risk management,” which aligns with the first global initiative exploring what regional banks are doing to integrate dimensions of climate change in their strategy and management.

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…

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