Banks worth $47 trillion adopt new UN-backed climate, sustainability principles

Gerardo Pesantez/World Bank High rises and hotel buildings in Punta Pacifica, Panama City, Panama, which has one of the largest banking sectors in Central America.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Banks collectively with more than $47 trillion in assets, or a third of the global industry, signed up on Sunday to new United Nations-backed responsible banking principles in a massive boost for climate action and the shift from “brown to green” models of economic growth.

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 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both.

“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,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the launch event, adding that they also “create the accountability that can realize responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action.”

By signing up to the Principles, banks said they will among other goals, aim to “increase our positive impacts, while reducing the negative impacts, and managing risks to people and the environment from our products and services.”

“How you, as business leaders, respond can be a defining moment for our global goals. Only public-private cooperation can deliver sustainable development,” Mr. Guterres said.

He challenged the 130 Founding Signatories and over 45 of their CEOs gathered for the event to not only align their business goals with the SDGs, the UN’s blueprint for tackling poverty, protecting the environment and ensuring a fairer world for all, but also to support gender equality, to invest in climate action and to disinvest from fossil fuels and pollution in general.

“We will rely on you to scale up financing to businesses that stimulate green growth,” the Secretary-general said, adding: “Place your bets on the green economy, not the grey economy, because the grey economy will have no future.”

Picking up that thread, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), told the bankers: “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 Principles were developed by a core group of 30 Founding Banks through an innovative global partnership between banks and the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

While action on climate change is growing, it is still far short of what is needed to meet the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, biodiversity continues to decline at alarming rates and pollution claims millions of lives each year.

Against this background, UNEP says that more ambition, backed by a step change in investment from the private sector, is needed to tackle these challenges and ensure that humanity lives in a way that ensures an equitable share of resources within planetary boundaries.

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 $12 trillion in business savings and revenue annually and create 380 million more jobs by 2030.           

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Focus on EU’s external action and building our stronger inner core: von der Leyen at the Special European Council

EU to finance new investment projects with extra borrowing; French and Italian deficits to be tolerated

How responsible businesses can step forward to fight coronavirus

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Italy’s populist government appears determined to drive EU economy and markets into recession

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

4 ways governments can support start-ups and save their economies

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Afghanistan

The Indian miracle state pointing the way to global sustainability

How studying genetics and lifestyle can shape a healthier MENA region

Trade: EU-Singapore agreement to enter into force on 21 November 2019

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

EU Parliament approves CETA: the EU-Canada free trade deal sees the light in Trump’s gloomy era

Writing a new story in gender inequalities: women gaining space and respect in medicine

Asia and Pacific on course to miss all Sustainable Development Goals, says UN region chief

Unanswered questions for Europe’s youth in President Juncker’s State of Union

INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid

Despite progress, companies face gender equality ‘backlash’: UN business body

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

We’re facing a ‘cold crunch,’ and it’s nothing to do with the polar vortex

How we can build our way out of the crisis

Suffering of thousands of war-affected Syrian children ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Worldwide UN family celebrates enduring universal values of human rights

How bad is the Eurozone economy? The ECB thinks too bad

6.1 billion EUR for sustainable fisheries and safeguarding fishing communities

Libya: Attack on foreign ministry, an attack on all Libyans, stresses UN envoy

Coldplay stop touring to save the world: is pop music going sustainable?

These are the world’s most tree-covered countries

Pakistan: UN strongly condemns terrorist attack that leaves scores dead and wounded at election rally

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to Combat Climate Change

First calls under Horizon Europe to be launched by the European Research Council

Women ‘vital’ to peace efforts and ensuring long-lasting stability in Afghanistan

Amazon wildfires are tomorrow’s breathtaker

UN chief condemns explosion at election rally in Zimbabwe that injured dozens, including senior politicians

This incredibly detailed map of Africa could help aid and development

EU Citizenship Report: empowering citizens and protecting their rights

Use “blockchain” model to cut small firms’ costs and empower citizens, urge MEPs

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

115 rejections and no pay. What it really takes to be an entrepreneur

What Mary Poppins teaches us about behavioural economics

The economic cost of anti-vaccination movements in Italy

Medical students and their ability to edify women’s rights

Reconciliation helps ‘repair fractures’, enable lasting peace, Security Council hears

The challenge to be a good healthcare professional

Drought in Europe: Member States agree on support measures proposed by the Commission

State aid: Commission approves €24.7 million of Italian support to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

This is the world’s greenest football club – and you’ve probably never even heard of it

EU budget: Commission proposes major funding increase for stronger borders and migration

11 lessons the history of business can teach us about its future

The road ahead to building a more sustainable world

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

Mental health and suicide prevention: the contradictory access in a reference city of southern Brazil

Coronavirus: a common path to Europe’s safe re-opening

UN launches innovative programme to detect and disrupt terrorist travel

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antibiotics

The World Bank’s 2020 country classifications explained

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s