Principles for Responsible Banking
On September 22 2019, the United National Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) launched the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRBs), an inititive that encourages banks to align their operations with the social and environmental commitments expressed in the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. BankTrack plans to monitor the implementation of the PRBs, so that they indeed deliver on what they promise.
Banks and forests
BankTrack's Banks and Forest campaign focuses on the financiers of important initiators of deforestation, with the aim to push banks to act more responsibly regarding their forest-related investments. The long-term goal of our work is to help ensure that private sector banks no longer finance companies, projects and business activities that cause a large negative impact on forests. We focus primarily on the pulp & paper and palm oil sectors.
Banks and human rights
BankTrack's human rights campaign pushes for banks to fully meet their responsibilities to respect human rights and human dignity across their operations. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide the clearest expression yet of these responsibilities. Since 2011 our campaign has focused on benchmarking banks, challenging finance for human rights abuses and engaging for better international standards.
Banks and coal
The banking sector's life support for the coal industry, in the shape of billions of dollars in financing through lending and underwriting, has to come to an end. From concerns over air pollution and acid rain to its destructive impact on the climate, coal has been recognised as the dirtiest, most dated and most inefficient fossil fuel option. It is the most emissions intensive fossil fuel and the leading cause of climate change. Globally, coal-fired power plants are the largest source of carbon dioxide – greater than tropical deforestation or oil use for transportation.
Banks, climate and energy
Banks, like all companies, produce greenhouse gases (GHG) directly from their activities, but their most important contribution to GHG emission is indirect, through the financing of clients and projects that generate GHG emissions. Banks also continue to play a key role as major financiers of the coal and oil and gas industry, effectively delaying the much needed shift away from a fossil fuel-based to an efficient and renewables economy. Banks must play their part in stopping climate change.
Equator Banks Act!
In 2017 BankTrack, in collaboration with several environmental, human rights and indigenous peoples' organisations, launched the “Equator Banks, Act!” campaign. Together these groups built a substantial coalition around the demand for a revision to update and strengthen the current Equator Principles (EP III). This campaign was successful, as the EP Association announced its plans for a ‘limited review’ of the EPs in 2017. BankTrack has been in consultation on this revision process. The updated version of the Equator Principles is expected to be published before COP25, taking place from December 2 until December 13 2019.