First Greek Bank Joins UN Initiative for Sustainable Banking



Greece’s Piraeus Bank and twenty-five other leading global lenders from five continents are re-defining financial institutions’ purpose and business model to align the sector with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement, the lender announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Both the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change have set ambitious targets to deliver a sustainable future for all. With two thirds of worldwide finance provided by banks, the global banking system will be instrumental in achieving these goals.

According to the statement, 26 of UN Environment Finance Initiative’s banking members are leading an initiative for banks worldwide to reaffirm their purpose and align their business practices with these objectives.

Piraeus Bank is the only Greek bank that has joined the initiative.

Convened by the UNEP FI secretariat, the banks are developing global Banking Principles that will, among others: direct banks’ efforts to align with society’s goals as expressed in the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, as well as national and regional frameworks; set the global benchmark for sustainable banking; drive ambition by requiring signatory banks to set goals for and report on their contribution to national and international social, environmental and economic targets and ensure accountability and transparency on banks’ impacts.

Similar to the role the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) play for asset managers and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) for insurance underwriters, these standards are expected to address the longstanding need for an umbrella framework to cover all aspects of sustainable banking.

The statement further disclosed that the process of developing the Principles will include consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, such as civil society organizations, banking associations, regulators and UN bodies.

Members of the Core Group (in alphabetical order):

Access Bank (Nigeria), Arab African International Bank (AAIB) (Egypt), Banco Pichincha (Ecuador), Banorte (Mexico), Barclays (United Kingdom), BBVA (Spain), BNP Paribas (France), Bradesco (Brazil), Commercial International Bank (CIB) (Egypt), First Rand (South Africa), Garanti Bank (Turkey), Golomt Bank (Mongolia), Hana Financial Group (South Korea), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) (China), ING (Netherlands), KCB Group (Kenya), Land Bank (South Africa), Nordea (Sweden), Piraeus Bank (Greece), Santander (Spain), Shinhan Financial Group (South Korea), Societe Generale (France), Standard Bank (South Africa), Triodos Bank (Netherlands), Westpac Group (Australia), YES Bank (India).