In a massive boost for climate action and sustainability, leading banks and the United Nations launched, on 23 September 2019, the Principles for Responsible Banking, with 130 banks collectively holding USD 47 trillion in assets, or one third of the global banking sector, signed up. 45 CEOs of the signatory banks attended the signing ceremony.
In the Principles, launched one day ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, banks commit to strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals, and massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both.
By signing up to the Principles, banks said they believe that “only in an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources” can their clients, customers and businesses thrive.
The Principles for Responsible Banking were developed by a core group of 30 Founding Banks through an innovative global partnership between banks and the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). UNEP FI is the UN-private sector collaboration that includes membership of more than 240 finance institutions around the globe.
Strong Implementation Framework
The Principles are supported by a strong implementation framework that defines clear accountabilities and requires each bank to set, publish and work towards ambitious targets. By creating a common framework that guides banks in growing their business and reducing risks through supporting the economic and social transformation required for a sustainable future, the Principles pave the way for the transformation to a sustainable banking industry.
“A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, it can benefit from it,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as solution, everybody wins in the long-term.”
The banking and private sectors can benefit from the investment they put into backing this transition. It is estimated that addressing the SDGs could unlock USD 12 trillion in business savings and revenue annually and create 380 million more jobs by 2030.
For a complete list of all banks that have become the Founding Signatories of the Principles for Responsible Banking and quotes from CEOs please click here.
For more information, including infographics and videos, please visit