It has been five years since the United Nations launched its 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), with the aim of providing a blueprint for a more sustainable future by 2030. In common with businesses in other sectors, many banks promised to take action in a range of areas, from reducing poverty to improving gender equality. Netherlands-based ING, for example, promised to focus on promoting climate action, sustainable consumption and production, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
In September 2019 a number of banks went further, agreeing to adopt new UN-backed climate and sustainability principles. The signatories to The Principles for Responsible Banking, which has grown to 199 financial institutions worth $53 trillion, committed to strategically aligning their businesses with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change alongside the UN SDGs.1