Responsible banking practices: benchmark study 2021

Financial institutions increasingly recognise that climate change and other environmental, social and corporate governance risks jeopardise the world’s economy and financial system.

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The Covid-19 pandemic underlined the importance of financial system resilience. Banks around the world recognise they have a key role to play in the transition to a sustainable future aligned with the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

Our third benchmark study of responsible banking practices takes a closer look at evolving best practices and developing trends in managing climate change risk and broader social and governance issues. Building on Mazars’ previous report: “Responsible banking practices, Benchmark study 2020”, our latest study identifies how banks are taking collective responsibility to create the new foundations of a sustainable financial industry and contribute to building healthier economies.

We segmented 37 banks – the largest, by total assets, in their respective geographies – into four categories: outstanding, leaders, supporters and followers. It is encouraging to see more banks rank as leaders compared to the last benchmark’s findings, achieving a positive score between 80% and 95%, despite the tightening of our assessment criteria to reflect the improvement of the practice and requirements.

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However, many challenges remain. There is still room for improvement, especially in regions where industry guidelines and ESG-related regulations are lacking. In effect, strong sustainability practices often come hand-in-hand with consistent industry and legal incentives.

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Mazars-Responsible-banking-practices-benchmark-study-2021.pdf
Mazars-Responsible-banking-practices-benchmark-study-2021.pdf