BBVA joined in launching the Principles for Responsible Banking at the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) global roundtable in Paris. "With these Principles for Responsible Banking, we are redefining banking's role in society in order to generate a positive impact on people's lives," BBVA's CEO Carlos Torres Vila stated.
Under the auspices of the UN, the Principles for Responsible Banking were announced by 28 large financial institutions from around the world. "These Principles are the way forward in affirming our contribution to society and redoubling our commitment. Banks play a significant role in sustainable development because we are the ones who can channel the funds that finance sustainable activities,” explained Carlos Torres Vila who emphasized the banking industry’s responsibility in building a sustainable future.
BBVA's CEO expressed his desire to expand the "global coalition of banks, to redefine how we do banking to better serve society. The Principles for Responsible Banking will definitely help us be better banks and reinforce the sustainability of the entire financial system. The future of finance is financing thinking about the future," he concluded.
The announcement was accompanied by the start of a six-month consultation period as a preliminary step to prepare the Principles for signature at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019. Institutions, organizations, and interest groups around the world are invited to contribute comments and suggestions to help with its development.
The United Nations recognizes the important role of the economic and financial sector in the fight against climate change and the protection of the environment, which is why in 1992 it created the United Nations Environment Programme - Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). Every two years, the UNEP FI organizes these roundtables, global events where the international financial community's sustainable agenda is decided. They also establish the global definition of what it means to be a responsible bank.
Principles for Responsible Banking
1.- Alignment: The 28 founding organizations commit to aligning their business activities with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
2.- Impact: Positive impacts will be increased, negative ones reduced. Banks will concentrate their efforts on those areas where their impact is most significant.
3.- Clients and Customers: Financial organizations will work responsibly with their clients and customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
4.- Stakeholders: The organizations commit to proactively consulting, engaging, and partnering with relevant stakeholders to achieve these goals.
5.- Governance and Target Setting: Public targets relating to the most significant impacts will be set, defining corrective actions to address negative impacts and increase positive ones, contributing to the attainment of sustainable development and climate change goals.
6.- Transparency and Accountability: There will be periodic reviews of both the individual and collective implementation of these Principles; the participating organizations will be completely transparent about - and will assume full responsibility for - the positive and negative impacts of their business activity.
Signing up to the Principles constitutes a firm commitment. Those organizations that continuously fail to meet their obligations of transparency, of establishing appropriate objectives, and of demonstrating an adequate level of progress, may be removed from the list of signatories.
Garanti Bank, in which BBVA has a 49.85 percent stake, is another founding member who has embraced this initiative aiming to transform the global banking practice.
The full text of the Principles for Responsible Banking is available at: www.unepfi.org/banking/bankingprinciples.