What is the Principles for Responsible Banking Academy?

The Principles for Responsible Banking Academy will support the implementation of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB)

UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Chartered Banker Institute, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking Academy to train all bankers about the climate emergency and sustainability.

The new Academy has been designed in partnership with banks to help signatories to the Principles for Responsible Banking implement the sustainability framework across all their business activities.

Over the next 5 years, it is expected that all 300 plus signatories will make the Academy available to their several million employees. The Academy will be launched as an online platform to reach as wide an audience as possible via digital channels and is available to banks around the world on a scale never seen before.

Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI said: “Banks have a unique and critical role to play in pivoting the global economic system. Using their lending and financing decisions and client relationships, banks have the power to redirect capital to accelerate the pace and scale of positive change across entire economies. 

“The Principles for Responsible Banking and its Academy provide an avenue for them to do this by enabling bank employees to align their professional practice, and the strategies and operations of their organisations with the objectives of society’s goals as reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Making banking more sustainable 

According to the organisations, the training uses a practical and applied approach, providing all bankers with the tools needed to apply a responsible banking lens to their professional practice.

The modules will also enable bankers to unlock their curiosity towards developing future skills, as well as preparing banks to proactively engage with societal expectations, incoming national laws and regulations relating to sustainability, in addition to helping them identify the opportunities that a sustainable transition offers.

Simon Thompson, Chief Executive of the Chartered Banker Institute commented: “Aligning banking with society’s goals as set out in the UN SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement requires building the capacity and capabilities of banks and bankers so that responsible banking isn’t just best practice; it becomes standard practice worldwide. This doesn’t mean we need all bankers to become experts in sustainability, but we do need all bankers to develop their knowledge of sustainability and apply it in the context of their role – in lending and investment decisions, in risk assessment, in designing new products and services, and in the advice they give to clients and customers. The PRB Academy aims to reach and teach all bankers worldwide, so that all banking becomes responsible banking. This is an extremely ambitious undertaking, but without vision, ambition and the leadership of UNEP FI, GIZ and the Chartered Banker Institute we will not succeed in aligning banking with society’s goals.”

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