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Westpac part of United Nations initiative to develop global Principles for Responsible Banking

30  May 2018


Westpac Group joins 25 other leading banks from five continents to develop shared principles, aligning the purpose of banking with delivering against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.


Convened by the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) secretariat, the participating banks are developing global Banking Principles that will:

  • 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;
  • ensure accountability and transparency on banks’ impacts; and
  • challenge the banking industry to play a leading role in creating a more sustainable future.


“Back in 1992, Westpac was an inaugural signatory to the UNEP FI, a partnership between United Nations Environment and the global financial sector, and was a proud supporter of the Principles for Responsible Investment in 2007,” said Siobhan Toohill, Head of Sustainability at Westpac Group.


Similar to the role the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) play for asset managers and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) for insurance underwriters, the Banking Principles will provide an umbrella framework to cover all aspects of sustainable banking.


“I’m delighted to be part of this initiative working with banks from around the world to  define the banking sector’s role in achieving a sustainable future, including setting out the hallmarks of a sustainable bank, supported by an accountability framework,” continued Siobhan.


The process of developing the Principles will include consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, such as civil society organisations, banking associations, regulators and UN bodies. The plan is for the draft Principles to be launched for global consultation during the UNEP FI Global Roundtable 2018 on 26 November at Palais Brongniart, Paris, France.


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).


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