A new guide by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been launched to help banks in Singapore implement environmental, social and governance (ESG) practice into their frameworks and develop sustainable solutions to risks of climate change and resource scarcity.
The ESG Integration for Banks: A Guide to Starting Implementation gives advice to financial advisors and lenders in socially responsible banking.
The NGO notes the importance of banks leading the way in sustainable development, while there are risks from severe weather and carbon emission reduction targets affecting the value of carbon assets.
The guide says, “To ensure global long-term financial stability and economic development, the banking sector needs to significantly change its attitudes and actions to promote more responsible and sustainable business practices.”
It aims to help banks implement ESG framework and Jeanne Stampe, WWF Asia finance and commodities specialist said, “This is the first guide that maps out ‘how to’ steps for financial institutions in the earlier stages of their ESG journey.
“It shows them how to manage their risk exposure to unsustainable business practices and lead the trend toward green business.”
The guide adds weight to the importance of sustainable and responsible investment (SRI), after recent analysis indicated ethical investment is reaching the mainstream and is set to continue reaping good returns.
Investing responsibly is seen as an important way of helping to protect the environment now and in the future, through investment in companies that aim to make a positive difference.
“The call to address environmental concerns has grown increasingly louder over time. Businesses, whether upstream or downstream, need to work together to do what is right and banks can play a significant role in promoting sustainability,” said Samuel Tsien, chairman of The Association of Banks in Singapore.
“While change will not happen overnight, the WWF guide can serve as a roadmap to provide insights on how ESG issues can be integrated into business processes to achieve this purpose.”
September 9 will see a series of WWF workshops held by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) to discuss key environmental issues facing the banking sector and explain how the guide can help implement ESG risk management.
Photo: gurmit singh via Flickr