The Principles for Responsible Banking form a new framework for the banking industry
The Principles for Responsible Banking were presented today for the first time in Greece at an event organized by Piraeus Bank with Mr. Yannis Stournaras, the Governor of the Bank of Greece, as the keynote speaker.
Twenty-eight banks from around the world, members of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative -UNEP FI, prepared and released in 2018 for public consultation the global Principles for Responsible Banking. These 28 banks represent over USD 17 trillion in combined assets.
From the very first moment Piraeus Bank, the only Greek bank, joined the group of the 28 banks and actively participated in this global effort.
The Principles for Responsible Banking will guide in the future the activities and the operation of the banks at a global level. The Principles define the role of the banks in society today, aligning their strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement, as outlined by the United Nations.
Mr. Yannis Stournaras, the Governor of Bank of Greece highlighted in his speech that the Bank of Greece fully supports the Principles for Responsible Banking and urges all of the banks to endorse the Principles and set ambitious targets. The Bank of Greece was one of the first central banks to become involved with the climate change issue, establishing the Climate Change Impacts Study Committee in 2009 and investing in one of the most significant Sustainable Development Goals, namely Goal 13, which focuses on climate action. As the Governor stated: “revisiting the meaning of economic growth under a sustainability lens, is essential to our future. It is indicative that in the first seven months last year we depleted the natural resources that the ecosystems naturally replenish in the course of an entire year”.
According to Mr. Stournaras: “the financial industry can play a catalyzing role in these issues, especially in promoting an economy that balances the protection of the environment with society’s welfare. The financial institutions can contribute through their activities and investments, but also through their relations with the other economic industries and their consumers. More specifically, the financial institutions can and should assume a leading role for a sustainable future through directing capital toward actions with a positive impact on society and by guiding their clients to wisely managing the social and environmental challenges. It is against this background that UNEP FI released for a six months consultation period the Principles for Responsible Banking that were created by 28 banks from around the world, one of which was Piraeus Bank. The purpose of the Principles is to define the role and the responsibility of the banking industry in shaping a sustainable future”.
The Chairman of Piraeus Bank Mr. Geroge Handjinicolaou, stated: “The Principles show how the financial industry can lead the way toward a more sustainable society at a global level. At Piraeus Bank we believe the adoption of the Principles for Responsible Banking are a competitive advantage and declare that together with other banks from around the world, with our customers, our shareholders, the investors and other stakeholders, we will work for a sustainable economy, for a better future for us and for the next generations”.
Mr. Christos Megalou, Chief Executive Officer of Piraeus Bank noted: “The decision of Piraeus Bank to be actively involved in the creation of the Principles for Responsible Banking, as a member of UNEP FI, was a clear choice. The goals for sustainable development, social contribution, and responsible banking behaviour are fundamental components of our strategy, and resonate well with our business model and our new values of Αccountability, Μeritocracy and Τransparency. At Piraeus Bank we actively and comprehensively support business industries such as Renewable Energy Sources, Energy Saving and Intelligent Agriculture, and encourage business activities in this direction playing a leading role in the sustainable development of the Greek economy. Having the appropriate knowhow, Piraeus Bank provides holistic support to the Greek enterprises for investments in clean technologies, through specialized financing tools provided under favourable conditions and with expert consulting services. Our goal is to help businesses adapt to the new model of sustainable development, to strengthen their competitiveness in the international market, and our contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as set by the United Nations”.
Mrs. Simone Dettling, UNEP FI Banking Team Lead and the coordinator of the 28 banks that created the Principles, spoke via a live meeting communication from Geneva, about the Principles for Responsible Banking and the challenges the banks face globally in adapting to the new environment.
The event was attended by representatives of the Hellenic Bank Association, other Greek banks, the Αcademia, research institutions, sustainability networks, business associations and international accounting firms.
Athens, January 16, 2019