By complying to these principles, banks align their business strategies with the most important societal goals – such as combating climate change and social inequality, and developing sustainable food systems. The initiative is completely in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Transparency and accountability are an important part of the initiative. Banks that sign up to the Principles must consult their stakeholders about the sustainable impact themes for the coming years. Banks will publicly set targets and report on their progress. Banks that continuously fail to meet transparency requirements, set adequate targets and demonstrate progress will face removal from the list of signatories.
Peter Blom, CEO of Triodos Bank: “We are proud to be a part of the Principles for Responsible Banking. 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.”
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With differentiated requirements for starter, intermediate and advanced banks on sustainability integration and detailed implementation guidance the Principles provide an entry point for early stage banks while creating a race to the top among those most advanced.
A total of 28 banks - including Triodos Bank and the other members of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) – have developed the draft version of the Principles. The Principles are now entering a six-month global public consultation period before they will be signed by banks from around the world at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2019. Banks and stakeholders around the world are invited to provide feedback and input to guide their further development, and to signal their support by becoming endorsers of the Principles for Responsible Banking.