This week, the APPG on Fair Business Banking hosted the UK launch of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s (UNEP FI) consultation on their ‘Principles for Responsible Banking’, which provide the banking industry with a framework to embed sustainability at the heart of their operations in order to tackle climate change and promote the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Principles equip financial institutions with a roadmap to tackle the biggest challenges facing society. They represent a vital step towards redefining the social purpose of the financial industry to eliminate the practices and behaviours that have plagued the business banking sector since the financial crisis.
The APPG launched the Principles at an event in Parliament on Monday 21st January with the sponsorship and support of the UNEP FI, Triodos Bank and the Scottish Stock Exchange, in which the keynote address was delivered by the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, The Rt Hon Claire Perry MP.
Kevin Hollinrake MP, Co-Chair of the APPG on Fair Business Banking said: “The deployment of capital to the real economy and the support of social and environmental goals are key concerns that are increasingly taking centre stage not only in discussions at Parliament, but also with the wider public. It is imperative that the financial industry is reconfigured to fulfil its social purpose and function. Banks must no longer be untouchable but must recognise the power they hold and use that power to promote positive change.”
He continued: “I am pleased that Triodos Bank are committed to keeping these issues at the forefront of the political agenda and we look forward to coordinating our efforts to provide the catalyst required to redefine the social purpose of finance”.
Bevis Watts, Managing Director of Triodos Bank UK: “Given the magnitude of the global challenges we face, a global initiative such as the UN Principles for Responsible Banking is very important to achieve a systemic change. We call on all banks to endorse and sign up for the Principles. The more banks that adopt them, the greater impact the banking industry will have in leading society to meet its goals for a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future.
“We view the Principles as an important milestone to accelerate the journey of the financial sector towards a sustainable business model. This journey will be difficult at times, but the financial sector is in a very good position to contribute to a sustainable world. Every financial decision makes impact after all. It is up to banks to determine whether that impact is positive or negative. The Principles provide a good roadmap for achieving positive impact.”