Between 2011 and 2021, sustainable fund investments grew more than 14-fold, from $186 billion to $2.7 trillion. Similar growth rates were seen in green, social, and sustainability bond volumes, demonstrating an increasing demand for sustainable solutions. As trusted advisors to corporations, governments, and investors, and facilitators of capital allocation between investors and issuers, investment banks are essential influencers of the global economy and have a significant role in the transition of the real economy to a sustainable future. With sustainable investment predicted to rise to $53 trillion by 2025, representing a third of global assets under management, the opportunity for the investment banking industry is vast.  

Aimed at investment bank practitioners, this report summarises the current state of sustainability in investment banking, highlights industry best practices, serves as a foundational document, and advises on how investment banks can integrate sustainability into their operations. The report will also interest other financial market participants, including data providers, industry bodies, policymakers, and regulators.   

Drawing on the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB), the review – the result of interviews with investment banks and other market participants – delivers eight recommendations to support investment banks integrating sustainability into their investment banking services. Recognizing the fast-evolving regulatory landscape, it also highlights some of the most critical legislative programmes.  

This report is a joint project between UNEP FI and the PRI as part of the Investment Leadership Programme (ILP). The ILP aims to accelerate collaboration among leading financial institutions and boost action on achieving key global sustainability objectives, such as aligning finance with the goals of the UN Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report was produced with the support of Deloitte.