130 banks holding US$47 trillion in assets commit to climate action and sustainability; 1/3 of global banking sector
Leading banks and the United Nations on Sunday launched the Principles for Responsible Banking, with 130 banks collectively holding US$ 47 trillion in assets—one third of the global banking sector—signed up.
In the Principles, launched one day ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, banks commit to align their business strategically with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals, and 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 UN Principles for Responsible Banking are a guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy. The Principles create the accountability that can realize responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action.—UN Secretary-General António Guterres
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, the parties said.
The UN estimated that addressing the SDGs could unlock US$12 trillion in business savings and revenue annually and create 380 million more jobs by 2030.
To transit to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies that support the goals of the Paris Agreement requires an additional investment of at least USD 60 trillion from now until 2050. As the banking sector provides over 90% of the financing in developing countries and over two thirds worldwide, the Principles are a crucial step towards meeting the world’s sustainable development financing requirements.—Christiana Figueres, Convener, Mission 2020, credited as the architect of the Paris Agreement in her role formerly as Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
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.