Today, we became the first bank in the United States to endorse the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Banking. The Principles for Responsible Banking provide the framework for the sustainable banking system of the future.
The six “Principles of Responsible Banking” are:
- Alignment: “We will align our business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks. We will focus our efforts where we have the most significant impact.”
- Impact: “We will continuously increase our positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from our activities, products and services.”
- Clients and Customers: “We will work responsibly with our clients and our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.”
- Stakeholders: “We will proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals.”
- Governance and Target Setting: “We will implement our commitment to these Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking, demonstrating ambition and accountability by setting public targets relating to our most significant impacts.”
- Transparency and Accountability: “We will periodically review our individual and collective implementation of these Principles and be transparent about and accountable for our positive and negative impacts and our contribution to society’s goals.”
These Principles for Responsible Banking were developed and launched by UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and 28 banks from around the world at the Global Roundtable in Paris in 2018. Signatory banks are required to identify the most significant positive and negative social, economic, and environmental impacts resulting from their activities, products and services.
As America’s socially responsible bank, Amalgamated Bank is proud to join forces with the UNEP FI to address transparency and accountability and report on our progress towards addressing social and environmental challenges. We believe that endorsing these six principles is another testament to our own longstanding commitment to impact and another way to measure and track our progress, but this is not the first step for Amalgamated. We were the first bank to endorse the United Nation’s Principles of Responsible Investing. Through our LongView Funds, we used our power as investors to encourage corporate boards to pursue sound governance policies, hold portfolio companies to high standards of social and environmental practices, and enhance shareholder value.
We are also leading a group of banks to create a carbon accounting model to track and monitor the carbon impact of their lending portfolios over the next three years and have worked with the Global Alliance for Banking on Values to turn this in to a global practice.
Additionally, as a certified B Corporation and member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, we adhere and report on economic, environmental and social metrics as well – it’s not just a part of our business, it’s who we are. And it’s also why the principles being developed with leading banks and under the stewardship of the United Nations are such a good fit for the work we do and the world we live in.
If you would like to learn more about the Principles, you can read them at https://www.unepfi.org/banking/bankingprinciples/