New Manual Offers Do's and Don'ts of Sustainable Banking

New Manual Offers Do's and Don'ts of Sustainable Banking

BankTrack, a nonprofit network monitoring the private financial sector, has published a manual offering the "do's and don'ts of sustainable banking."

The manual (download - PDF), seeks to answer the question "what does a really sustainable bank look like?" according to the group. It follows the outline of the Collevecchio Declaration, released in 2003, which calls upon financial institutions to embrace six commitments (to Sustainability, to Do No Harm, to Responsibility, Accountability, Transparency, and Sustainable Markets and Governance).

The group says the new manual should be seen as the updated implementation guidelines to the Collevechio Declaration, incorporating the latest thinking and expectations of civil society groups on the subject. "It contains a wealth of advice for banks on how to get their house in order, going far beyond what banks now consider as 'being sustainable'. Amongst other things it argues that becoming a truly sustainable bank requires no less than a change in the overall mission of the institution, to include wider sustainability goals," according to a BankTrack statement.

"Sustainability for the banking sector requires a lot more than cutting down on your paper consumption or even signing up to the Equator Principles," said Johan Frijns, BankTrack coordinator. "It involves making hard choices and a willingness to forego business opportunities that run counter to your sustainability mission. Contrary to popular belief there is not always a business case for sustainability. There may simply be pressing moral or social reasons to not get involved in a otherwise financially lucrative deal."

"There is a need for going far beyond the rhetoric that is currently developing around the topic; this manual shows the way forward for any bank wishing to successfully apply for next years’ Sustainable Banking Awards”, said James Leaton, WWF-UK Policy Advisor, a member of BankTrack.