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Banking industry commits to climate change action

130 international banks, representing one third of the global banking sector by NAV, have signed the new Principles for Responsible Banking.  This initiative commits their firms to strategically align their business with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals, and step up action by delineating accountabilities and setting ambitious targets for their operations.

The Principles for Responsible Banking are:

  1. Alignment: to align business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks;
  2. Impact & Target Setting: to continuously increase positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from banks’ activities, products and services. To achieve this, signatories will set and publish targets where they can have the most significant impacts;
  3. Clients and Customers: signatories will work responsibly with their clients and customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations;
  4. Stakeholders: to work proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals;
  5. Governance & Culture: to implement commitment to the Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking;
  6. Transparency & Accountability: to periodically review signatories’ individual and collective implementation of the Principles and to be transparent about and accountable for signatories’ positive and negative impacts and contribution to society’s goals.

The banks that have lead the development of the Principles for Responsible Banking include Barclays, Citi, ICBC, Santander and Tridos Bank.  Additional guidance, also published, gives examples of how banks might meet the standards.

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Roseyna Jahangir