In a significant boost for climate action and sustainability, leading banks and the UN have launched the Principles for Responsible Banking with the 130 signatory banks reportedly holding USD 47 trillion in assets - or one third of the global banking sector.

In signing up to the Principles banks stated that their "success and ability to remain profitable and relevant is intrinsically dependent on the long term prospects of the societies" they serve.

The Principles embody the commitment of signatories to:

  • Align their business strategies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Change Agreement
  • Continuously increase their positive impacts while reducing negative impacts on, and managing risks to, people, and environment resulting from their activities, products and services
  • Work responsibly with their clients and customers to encourage sustainable practices
  • Proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society's goals
  • Implement their commitment to the Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking
  • Periodically review their individual and collective implementation of the Principles and be transparent about and accountable for their positive and negative impacts and their contribution to society's goals.

Launched on the eve of the UN Climate Change Action Summit in New York, the Principles are bolstered by a robust implementation framework which requires banks to set, publish and implement targets that address at least two of the banks' most significant positive and negative impacts. The Principles lay out a framework which encourages banks to use their products, services and relationships to support and accelerate the fundamental changes in their economies and lifestyle necessary to "achieve prosperity for both current and future generations".