Welcome to the Principles for Responsible Banking consultation page

The Principles for Responsible Banking set the global benchmark for what it means to be a responsible bank, and provide actionable guidance for how to achieve this. They align the banking industry with society’s goals as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Principles for Responsible Banking have been developed by 28 banks from five continents, jointly representing more than USD 17 trillion in assets, on behalf of the wider UNEP FI membership.

Now we want to give banks around the world as well as stakeholders the chance to review, comment on and provide guidance to further improve them.

After reading through the Principles and Implementation Guidance, we’d appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions on the right of your screen. If you would prefer to view the Principles and Implementation Guidance in pdf, please click here.

This consultation runs until 31 May 2019. We will review all feedback received, amending the Principles and Implementation Guidance where necessary. We urge you to participate in developing the sustainable banking framework of the future.

For further information see the Frequently Asked Questions.

Principle 1: Alignment

We will align our business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks. We will focus our efforts where we have the most significant impact.

How your bank can achieve this...

  • Explicitly integrate the SDGs, the Paris Climate Agreement and other relevant national, regional or international frameworks into your business strategy and key business decisions, including your capital allocation decisions.

  • Identify and assess where your banks' portfolio and service offerings generate, or could potentially generate, the most significant positive and negative environmental, social and economic impacts.

  • In the identified focus areas, set and publish targets that align your business with and ensure your bank’s significant contribution to the objectives and targets set out in the SDGs, the Paris Climate Agreement, and other relevant national, regional or international frameworks.

Principle 2: Impact

We will continuously increase our positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from our activities, products and services.

How your bank can achieve this...

  • Use the SDGs, the Paris Climate Agreement and other relevant national, regional or international frameworks to identify, assess and be transparent on significant (potential) positive and negative impacts resulting from the bank’s capital allocation decisions and its provision of products and services.

  • Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to address, reduce and mitigate significant negative impacts and to realize opportunities to continuously expand and scale up positive impacts.

  • Undertake forward-looking assessments of sustainability-related risks and opportunities at transaction, portfolio and strategic level and manage and mitigate significant risks.

Principle 3: Clients and Customers

We will work responsibly with our clients and our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.

How your bank can achieve this...

  • Systematically identify where your bank can support its clients in reducing their negative and increasing their positive impacts by adopting new technologies, business models and practices and where your bank can encourage and support sustainable behavior and consumption choices among its retail customers.

  • Develop strategies and define measures for the identified focus areas, such as development of new products and services or sustainability-related incentives and contractual conditionality.

  • Help ensure that your retail customers have the knowledge and skills to effectively manage their finances, e.g. through financial literacy programs.

Principle 4: Stakeholders

We will proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals.

How your bank can achieve this...

  • Identify and map key external stakeholders such as regulators, investors, policy makers, and civil society institutions, paying special attention to stakeholders directly or indirectly affected by the bank’s business practices and lending and investment decisions.

  • Engage, listen to and consult with these stakeholders to gather their expectations and advice regarding the material issues in your strategy and business practices. Create partnerships that enable your bank to deliver more than it could by working on its own.

  • Ensure that your engagement with regulators and policymakers is aligned with the goals and objectives of these Principles. Proactively advocate for sustainable regulations and frameworks.

Principle 5: Governance and Target Setting

We will implement our commitment to these Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking, demonstrating ambition and accountability by setting public targets relating to our most significant impacts.

How your bank can achieve this with regards to governance and culture...

  • Assign roles and responsibilities for meeting your bank’s strategic objectives regarding sustainability across all functional areas of the bank and ensure sufficient status, influence and resources.

  • Establish effective policies, management systems and controls to ensure that sustainability objectives and targets are integrated into all decision making processes across the bank.

  • Actively communicate top-level buy-in and integrate performance with regards to the bank’s sustainability targets and responsible banking leadership into performance assessments, remuneration schemes and promotion decisions.


What is required from your bank with regards to target setting:

Principle 6: Transparency and Accountability

We will periodically review our individual and collective implementation of these Principles and be transparent about and accountable for our positive and negative impacts and our contribution to society’s goals.

Banks are required to...

  • Within the first 14 months of becoming a signatory and every year thereafter be transparent on and accountable for their significant positive and negative impact and contribution to society’s goals and provide information on their implementation of the Principles for Responsible Banking in their public reporting.

  • Indicate in the Reporting template where in their public reports information on their implementation of the Principles can be found.

  • Undergo an annual individual review process whose requirements differ depending on the self-declared “level” of the bank (see review process below and click here to view the "accountability and review processes" section).

Have Your Say

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For all participants:
1. Are there any gaps or elements that the Principles do not cover? How should this be addressed?      
2. Do the current target setting requirements provide an effective mechanism for driving banks’ alignment with and contribution to society’s goals? Do you see elements in the target setting requirements or the Principles more broadly that could be strengthened/introduced to drive change even more effectively?      
3. Does the Implementation Guidance provide clear guidance on what is expected from banks and on how to implement the Principles? If not, what gaps do you see and how could they be addressed?      
4. Is the reporting template clear about what banks are required to report on?      
5. Is the information required in the Reporting template helpful for assessing a bank’s sustainability performance? Is there any additional information that should be requested for this purpose?      
6. Please provide any additional comments, inputs and suggestions for changes. This could include suggestions for additional links to relevant resources to include in the Implementation Guidance.      
For banks only:
7. Are these Principles in line with your bank’s aspirations and are they an effective framework for guiding and accelerating changes in your bank? If not, what would you propose changing?      
8. Do the Principles allow for sufficient flexibility for banks in different contexts, with different business models and at different points in their sustainability journey? If not, what provisions would you suggest?      
9. Do the current requirements and formulation of the Principles pose any challenges that would deter your bank from endorsing and ultimately signing up to these Principles? If so, what are they and how would you propose to address them?      
10. How is your bank likely to respond to this initiative? Please select one option below:
Name of your institution
Email address

A copy of your responses will be emailed to you.