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Landsbankinn to endorse UN’s Principles for Responsible Banking

Landsbankinn has decided to endorse UNEP FI’s new Principles for Responsible Banking, intended to align the banking industry with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Principles were introduced at a meeting of UNEP FI in Paris in November 2018 and Landsbankinn is the first Icelandic bank and among the first endorsers of the undertaking. The Principles for Responsible Banking have been sent for global public consultation and will first be available for signature in September 2019.

The Principles were developed by 28 international banks under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) of which Landsbankinn is already a member. UNEP FI is a global partnership between UNEP and 200 financial undertakings, focused on examining the impact of the financial system on the environment and society.

The Principles set the global standard for what it means to be a responsible bank and will ensure that banks create value for both their shareholders and society. They provide the first global framework that guides the integration of sustainability across all business areas of a bank, from strategic to portfolio to transaction level. The transparency and accountability mechanisms in the Principles require signatories to manage what matters most, set public targets and report back on progress.

Eric Usher, head of UNEP FI: “Today we welcome the first official endorsers of the Principles for Responsible Banking. I am delighted that the Principles are already gathering support as we know that we need to see urgent action to address climate change and the other social and environmental challenges the world faces.”

Lilja Björk Einarsdóttir, CEO of Landsbankinn: “Landsbankinn aims to be a leader in corporate social responsibility in Iceland and we are very pleased to be amongst the first to endorse the Principles for Responsible Banking. We have worked with local organisations on social responsibility, we are a founding member of an investment forum for responsible investments and our own policy on social responsibility is shaped with comprehensive input from business segments to ensure that it is integrated with core banking operations. We find that the Principles for Responsible Banking provide us with a common language on how a bank can communicate these efforts and differentiate itself, which is important for our customers, employees and shareholders.”

The six Principles for Responsible Banking:

  1. Alignment: We will align our business strategy to be consistent with and contribute to individuals’ needs and society’s goals, as expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and relevant national and regional frameworks. We will focus our efforts where we have the most significant impact.
  2. Impact: We will continuously increase our positive impacts while reducing the negative impacts on, and managing the risks to, people and environment resulting from our activities, products and services.
  3. Clients & Customers: We will work responsibly with our clients and our customers to encourage sustainable practices and enable economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations.
  4. Stakeholders: We will proactively and responsibly consult, engage and partner with relevant stakeholders to achieve society’s goals.
  5. Governance & Target-setting: We will implement our commitment to these Principles through effective governance and a culture of responsible banking, demonstrating ambition and accountability by setting public targets relating to our most significant impacts.
  6. Transparency & Accountability: We will periodically review our individual and collective implementation of these Principles and be transparent about and accountable for our positive and negative impacts and our contribution to society’s goals.

Announcement from UNEP FI