September 2017      Facebooktwitterlinkedin

What does a sustainable bank look like and what role can each department play to further integrate sustainability across a bank?

The UN Environment Finance Initiative’s (UNEP FI) Guide to Banking and Sustainability – Edition 2 is a functional overview of what a sustainable bank looks like and is designed for all employees from senior management to new employees as well as other stakeholders such as banking associations, regulators, and supervisors.

Six years after the original Guide was published, UNEP FI is pleased to launch the newly updated 2nd edition at our Regional Roundtable for Sustainable Finance in Latin America and the Caribbean on 7 September 2017. Much has evolved in the field and the new Guide provides the latest hands-on guidance for practitioners on integrating sustainability across a bank, including real-life examples from banks around the world.

By signing up to the UNEP Statement of Commitment by Financial Institutions on Sustainable Development, which represents the backbone of the Initiative, financial institutions openly recognize the role of the financial services sector in making our economy and lifestyles sustainable and commit to the integration of environmental and social considerations into all aspects of their operations.

While the first edition of the Guide provided a detailed explanation of the Statement, the newly revised 2nd edition is a useful “how-to” tool for sustainable finance veterans and newcomers alike to understand, fulfill and communicate their role in making the world more sustainable.

Addressing sustainability issues requires actions at all levels and across all the key functions of banks. Accordingly, the Guide is organized into nine functional chapters, spanning from leadership all the way through to sustainability teams, risk teams and client-facing teams.

Each chapter contains the business case for embarking on a sustainability journey, and guidance on how to go about it as well as case studies demonstrating current practice taken from various UNEP FI member institutions across the globe. In addition, a resources section provides relevant literature, tools, frameworks, and training as well as a glossary of terms.

Who is the Guide intended for?

First and foremost a tool for banking practitioners themselves:

  • Senior management and board members seeking to educate themselves and their employees on banking and sustainability
  • Sustainability teams seeking to engage employees across the bank
  • Employees seeking to understand the relevance of sustainability issues to their work
  • Employees who are engaging with external shareholders and stakeholders on sustainability expectations, risks, inquiries, and other matters.

It will also be a useful tool for a number of stakeholders, including:

  • Banking associations seeking to understand and promote sustainability among their membership
  • Banking regulators and supervisors interested in understanding and promoting banks’ roles in preserving the banking system’s safety and soundness with regards to environmental and social risk drivers
  • Anyone from the policy-making sphere to civil society, to the corporate sector and the general public who is interested in understanding how the worlds of banking and sustainability are connected in practice.

How is the Guide useful?

  • Gain practical approaches on how to further integrate sustainability across a bank
  • Learn concrete tactics to raise sustainability awareness among a bank’s employees
  • Understand from case studies how other banks integrated sustainability in a certain area/department
  • Takeaway concrete methods on how to integrate sustainability in a specific area/department of a bank
  • Discover how a bank can not only understand and manage the risks that arise because of sustainability issues, but also understand the strategic dimension of these issues.

Download the Guide to Banking & Sustainability – Edition 2 here.

Learn more about the UNEP FI Banking initiative here.