For the first time, banks around the world can offer all employees access to high-quality, dedicated training to equip them with the knowledge and skills that are essential to manage today’s challenges – through the new Principles for Responsible Banking Academy (PRB Academy).

Signatories to the Principles for Responsible Banking (the Principles) commit to align their strategy and practice with the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. The objective of the PRB Academy, which launched today at UNEP FI’s Global Roundtable, is to upskill banking professionals around the world and prepare them for the huge challenges they, their businesses and their customers are facing from climate change, nature loss, pollution and social issues. Every banker needs at least a basic knowledge of these matters and to be able to apply this in the context of their daily work. The PRB Academy will help banking professionals understand how responsible banking practices can play a part in securing an equitable and sustainable future for people and planet.

“Banks have a unique and critical role to play in pivoting the global economic system. Using their lending and financing decisions and client relationships, banks have the power to redirect capital to accelerate the pace and scale of positive change across entire economies,” said UNEP FI Head, Eric Usher. “The Principles for Responsible Banking and its Academy provide an avenue for them to do this by enabling bank employees to align their professional practice, and the strategies and operations of their organisations with the objectives of society’s goals.”

The training uses a practical and applied approach, providing all bankers with the tools needed to apply a responsible banking lens to their professional practice. The modules will also enable bankers to unlock their curiosity towards developing future skills, as well as preparing banks to proactively engage with societal expectations, incoming national laws and regulations relating to sustainability, in addition to helping them identify the opportunities that a sustainable transition offers.

“Sustainability is a new set of knowledge for bankers. Capability building will be a source of competitive advantage and the PRB Academy will play a key role to help banks and their teams in this journey,” added Antoni Ballabriga, Global Head of Responsible Business Sustainability at BBVA, UNEP FI Global Steering Committee Co-Chair, and one of the contributors to the module designed for executives.   

Over the next five years, the Academy aims to provide training to millions of bankers worldwide and as such will become an important benchmark to demonstrate a responsible and sustainable mindset. Designed for the 300 plus banks who are signatories to the Principles, which now collectively represent nearly 50% of global banking assets, it will also be available to all banks worldwide. By making the Academy’s education and training so widely accessible across developed, developing and emerging economies, it aims to provide an inclusive approach for the development of banking skills and knowledge regardless of location.

Developed by the world’s most established professional banking institute, the Chartered Banker Institute, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and working with a range of banks from across the world, the PRB Academy has developed a wide-ranging curriculum that is offered via a range of accessible training modules.

“Emerging markets and developing countries play a crucial role in achieving the global climate and development goals. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ), GIZ supports partner countries in the Global South in transforming their financial systems and anchor sustainability practices in the financial industry. This unique partnership with UNEP FI and Chartered Banker Institute is a significant boost to build the required awareness and technical skills at scale,” said Axel Klaphake, Director Economic and Social Development, Digitalisation at GIZ commented.

“Aligning banking with society’s goals as set out in the UN SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement requires building the capacity and capabilities of banks and bankers so that responsible banking isn’t just best practice; it becomes standard practice worldwide. This doesn’t mean we need all bankers to become experts in sustainability, but we do need all bankers to develop their knowledge of sustainability and apply it in the context of their role – in lending and investment decisions, in risk assessment, in designing new products and services, and in the advice they give to clients and customers. The PRB Academy aims to reach and teach all bankers worldwide, so that all banking becomes responsible banking.  This is an extremely ambitious undertaking, but without vision, ambition and the leadership of UNEP FI, GIZ and the Chartered Banker Institute we will not succeed in aligning banking with society’s goals,” added Simon Thompson, Chief Executive of the Chartered Banker Institute.

Register your interest

Read more about the Principles for Responsible Banking framework.

Download the press release here.