24 March 2020
A total of 171 banks from around the world have now signed UNEP FI’s Principles for Responsible Banking: each one making a commitment to far-reaching change as they realign their businesses with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a significant increase from the 130 founding signatories at the launch of the groundbreaking framework six months ago at the UN General Assembly. Between them, the signatories represent approximately USD 50 trillion in assets, more than a third of the assets of the global banking industry.
The Principles require banks to be transparent and accountable: to report publicly on their positive and negative impacts; their contribution to society’s goals and their progress in implementing the Principles, and to engage with key stakeholders on their impacts. A feedback and review process will provide banks with individualised, substantive and actionable feedback during a one-on-one support meeting. Crucially, banks who do not fulfil these requirements are likely to be delisted as signatories, ensuring that this framework will lead to a transformational change in banks’ business practices.
The COVID-19 outbreak is already impacting banks’ customers and will have huge implications for the global economy. Signatory banks have a responsibility under Principle 3 to “work responsibly with clients and customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.” We are already seeing the signatory banks responding and providing support for customers impacted by the coronavirus. We encourage our members to communicate the measures that they are taking to UNEP FI and to stay tuned for opportunities to bring the banks together to share experiences at this difficult time.
To guide banks as they implement the six Principles, working groups comprised of staff members from the signatory banks are now being brought together. They will jointly develop tools, guidance and support to assist banks on their journey. Banks will report on their progress in implementing the Principles for the first time during the third quarter of 2020, just over one year after the Principles were launched.
About UNEP FI’s Principles for Responsible Banking
The Principles for Responsible Banking were developed by a core group of 30 Founding Banks through an innovative global partnership between banks and UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). UNEP FI is the UN-private sector collaboration whose membership includes more than 300 banks, insurers and investors based around the globe.
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