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Corporate Responsibility Updated: 08 Sep 2018

BBVA participates in the United Nations' initiative to establish Banking Principles

BBVA is one of 26 international banks that will work jointly on the development of Banking Principles that will align the banking industry's business model to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The United Nations is driving the initiative. BBVA's Group Executive Chairman stressed that “these banking principles will define the standards and accountability model for the future of banking.”

Two-thirds of global financing is provided by banks. Given this reality, the global banking sector plays a key role in the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, initiatives driven by the United Nations to build a sustainable future.

Twenty-six global banks in 19 countries across 5 continents—members of the United Nations Environment Program-Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI)—believe the time has come to for banking to resolutely push the transition to a low carbon economy. The guiding approach for this aspiration is through the joint development of Banking Principles. A charter that has the following objectives:

  • Guide banking initiatives and align them with the social objectives defined in the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, as well as national and regional frameworks.
  • Define and implement a global benchmark for responsible and sustainable banking.
  • Require signatory banks to set ambitious goals and report on their contribution in terms of social, environmental and economic goals on a national and international level.
  • Drive banks’ accountability for and transparency of their environmental impact.
  • Challenge the banking industry to play a leading role in creating a more sustainable future.

Responding to a demand

These principles—equivalent to the Principles for Responsible Investment (for asset managers) and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance for insurance underwriters—will meet the increasing demand to create a holistic framework that covers all aspects of sustainable banking.

The process to develop these Banking Principles includes a consultation phase with a wide range of social organizations, banking associations, regulators, different UN agencies and bodies, as well as other interest groups.

The first in-person meeting of the 26 banks participating in the initiative took place in London on April 19 and 20, with regional consultation meetings to take place between May and August. The goal is to publish a first draft that will be submitted for consideration during the Global Round Table of UNEP-FI that will take place in Paris on November 26, 2018.

“New accountability model for banking”

BBVA is a pioneer in the commitment to sustainable banking. It is one of the most active international institutions in sustainable finance. BBVA Group Executive Chairman Francisco González stressed that “these Banking Principles will define the standards and accountability model for the future of banking.”

The following banks are participating in this United Nations-sponsored responsible banking initiative alongside BBVA (in alphabetical order): Access Bank (Nigeria), Arab African International Bank (Egypt), Banco Pichincha (Ecuador), Banorte (Mexico), Barclays (United Kingdom), BNP Paribas (France), Bradesco (Brazil), Commercial International Bank (Egypt), First Rand (South Africa), Garanti (Turkey), Golomt Bank (Mongolia), Hana Financial Group (South Korea), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (China), ING (Holland), Kenia Commercial Bank (Kenya), Land Bank (South Africa), Nordea (Sweden), Piraeus Bank (Greece), Santander (Spain), Shinhan Financial Group (South Korea), Société Générale (France), Standard Bank (South Africa), Triodos Bank (Holland), Westpac (Australia), YES Bank (India).