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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Management > Social Responsibility

Banking for Green Industry Improves Based On More Competition

Social responsibility ranks as a high reputation factor for banking during 2006-07

Find green business solutions
money incentives and carbon offsets According to the latest Banking Industry report from research group Covalence, competition for eco-minded customers has helped improve how banks' services affect the environment.

Over last year the Banking Industry has witnessed a favorable evolution in the areas of Eco-Innovativeness of its products, Environmental Impact of Production and Social Sponsorship, according to the Geneva-based ethical reputation research firm Covalence.

The reason for this green turmoil amongst various enterprises in the banking industry stems from both the market side

  • increased consumer demand for Socially Responsible Investment funds
  • growing attractiveness of investing in renewable energy

    ...and evolving international standards

  • United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing
  • UNEP Finance Initiative
  • Revised Equator Principles
Traditional banking practices of confidentiality, cautiousness and neutrality are giving way to transparency and direct communications. Nowadays, banks have become quite aggressive in showing the public how they contribute to sustainable development. Corporate Social Responsibility emerges as an important competition factor in the banking industry.

On the market side, there has been an increase in demand from consumers for socially responsible investment options, and the market for investments in renewable energy is also increasingly attractive to investors. The growth of microfinance, aided in part by Muhammad Yunus's Nobel Peace Prize for his work at Grameen Bank, is also a contributing factor to the survey results.

On the standards side, the adoption of a series of guidelines at the United Nations helped stimulate a positive perception of the banking sector. The U.N.'s Principles for Responsible Investing, currently included over 200 groups that are seeking to adopt environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) in their practices, were launched last year, and the U.N. Environment Programme's Financial Initiative and the Revised Equator Principles also garnered significant, positive press coverage.

Another notable development over the course of the year was the Clinton Climate Initiative, a $5 billion plan financed by the world's major banks to retrofit and environmentally improve existing buildings around the world.

From June 2006 to June 2007, major negative issues facing the Banking industry are: Lay-offs; Attacked for agreements to finance TXU coal-fired power plants; Alleged role in Enron’s accounting scam; Criticism on issuing credit cards and banking services to illegal immigrants; Executive compensation; Financing global warming & human rights abuses; Failure to cut energy use; and Data theft and information leaks.

Major positive issues are: Climate change strategies; Finance Clinton Climate Initiative’s Energy Efficiency Building; Revised Equator Principles for project finance; Investments in renewable energy; SRI funds; Investments in environmentally friendly projects; Charitable donations; Community Development; Education, health, and social welfare developments.

The report found that the top ten banks in terms of corporate reputation were, in order:

  • HSBC
  • ABN AMRO
  • Bank of America
  • Barclays Bank
  • Citigroup
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Wells Fargo
  • UBS
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • BNP Paribas

SOURCE:



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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