A year since Triodos Bank signed the UN Principles for Responsible Banking,  the number of banks signed up has grown to represent around 40% of the banking industry, serving over 1.6 billion people around the globe. 

In the same year, the world has been facing the challenges of Covid-19, which has highlighted social inequalities and the need for environmental protection. 

The Principles define the global banking industry’s role and responsibilities in addressing current societal problems, including the pandemic, the climate emergency and social inclusion.

Signatories have been working together to effectively support their customers and communities throughout the crisis. Read more on the impact these signatories are having.

In the Principles, banks promise to strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals, and scale up their contribution to the achievement of both.

By signing up to the Principles, banks said they believe that “only in an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources” can their clients, customers and businesses thrive.

“We welcome the fact that so many banks have signed the Principles and recognise their role in society," said Triodos Bank’s CEO, Peter Blom, who signed the Principles in New York.

"The Principles challenge banks to take a critical look at the impact of their loans and investments, and not to solely base their decisions on risk and return," he continued.

"We see the Principles as an important milestone to accelerate the journey of banks towards a sustainable business model, even though this journey will be difficult at times. It is time we all act now.”

Triodos Bank CEO Peter Blom explains why the Principles are so important:

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Transparency and accountability are an important part of the initiative. Banks that sign up to the Principles must consult their stakeholders about the sustainable impact themes for the coming years.

Banks will publicly set targets and report on their progress. Banks that continuously fail to meet transparency requirements, set adequate targets and demonstrate progress will face removal from the list of signatories.

"We are proud to be a part of the Principles for Responsible Banking. Given the magnitude of the global challenges we face, a global initiative such as the UN Principles for Responsible Banking is very important to achieve a systemic change", said Blom. "The more banks that adopt them, the greater impact the banking industry will have in leading society to meet its goals for a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future."

"We view the Principles as an important milestone to accelerate the journey of the financial sector towards a sustainable business model. This journey will be difficult at times, but the financial sector is in a very good position to contribute to a sustainable world. Every financial decision makes impact after all. It is up to banks to determine whether that impact is positive or negative. The Principles provide a good roadmap for achieving positive impact."