Principles for Responsible Banking

Who’s behind it? – UNEP Finance Initiative


How can it help? – The Principles for Responsible Banking will help any bank – whatever its starting point – to align its business strategy with, and accelerate its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The Principles provide the framework for a sustainable banking system and help the industry to demonstrate how it makes a positive contribution to society. They include: 

  1. Alignment: Signatories commit to align their business strategies to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the SDGs, the Paris Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks.
  2. Impact and Target Setting: Signatories will continuously increase their positive impacts and reduce the negative impacts on, and manage the risks to, people and the environment resulting from their activities, products and services. Signatories will set and publish targets where they can have the most significant impacts.
  3. Clients and Customers: Signatories will work with clients and customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
  4. Stakeholders: Signatories will responsibly and proactively consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve societal goals.
  5. Governance and Culture: Signatories will implement the Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking.
  6. Transparency and Accountability: Signatories will periodically review individual and collective implementation of the Principles and be transparent about and accountable for positive and negative impacts and their contributions to societal goals.

The Principles and their mechanisms for implementation and accountability are captured in three primary documents: The Principles Signature Document, the Key Steps to be Implemented by Signatories, and the Reporting and Self-Assessment Template. These are referred to as the Principles for Responsible Banking Framework Documents. A fourth Guidance Document provides support the implementation of the Principles by providing non-binding guidance to banks on measures they can take to implement each Principle.

The Principles for Responsible Banking were launched by 130 banks from 49 countries, representing more than USD47 trillion in assets, including: Barclays; BBVA; BNP Paribas; Citi; ICBC; ING; Natixis; Banco Santander; and Société Générale. 

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