(UN News Wire) – Banks collectively with more than $47 trillion in assets, or a third of the global industry, signed up on Sunday to new United Nations-backed responsible banking principles in a massive boost for climate action and the shift from “brown to green” models of economic growth.
In the Principles, launched one day ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, banks commit to strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both.
“The UN Principles for Responsible Banking are a guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the launch event, adding that they also “create the accountability that can realize responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action.”
By signing up to the Principles, banks said they will among other goals, aim to “increase our positive impacts, while reducing the negative impacts, and managing risks to people and the environment from our products and services.”
“How you, as business leaders, respond can be a defining moment for our global goals. Only public-private cooperation can deliver sustainable development,” Mr. Guterres said.
He challenged the 130 Founding Signatories and over 45 of their CEOs gathered for the event to not only align their business goals with the SDGs, the UN’s blueprint for tackling poverty, protecting the environment and ensuring a fairer world for all, but also to support gender equality, to invest in climate action and to disinvest from fossil fuels and pollution in general.