Johan Frijns, firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Principles for Responsible Banking (PRBs) are an initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) and 30 Founding banks. They were launched in draft format in November 2018 as a new initiative designed to promote responsible banking and, following a recently concluded consultation period, will become fully operational from September 22 2019 onwards
The six Principles encourage banks to align their operations at "strategic, portfolio, and transactional levels" with prevailing social and environmental commitments, particularly as expressed in the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A decade after the financial crisis, banks are eager to build trust and to demonstrate reliability. In this context, the PRBs set out to define what it is to be a responsible bank now and in the future and to set a global standard for responsibility. The PRBs aim to provide a framework through which banks can align their strategy, portfolio, and business practices with society's social and environmental goals.
The draft PRBs were developed in a closed process by 28 banks from around the world, with advice from a group of 12 hand-picked civil society organizations. As a PRB-signatory, banks will be required to assess their positive and negative social, economic, and environmental impacts and, based on these impacts, to set and publish targets and in accordance with the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement and the SDGs. Additionally the PRBs include commitments on stakeholder engagement, accountability, and transparency. Banks that continue to fail to meet their targets or fail to adhere to the PRBs will lose their signatory status.
While acknowledging the PRBs as a "welcome and long overdue commitment from banks to fully align their businesses with society's needs", BankTrack has called publicly for UNEP-FI to go further with the framework and has also coordinated an NGO response to the consultation process. With the final version of the Principles in place since July 2019 our attention has now shifted to mapping the implementation plans of the PRB founding banks. BankTrack plans to publish a briefing on this at the launch date of the Principles, September 22 2019.