Sustainable Banking

Sustainable banking, often referred to as green banking or ethical banking, is a financial approach that integrates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria into banking practices. It prioritizes investments and loans that promote sustainability, responsible resource management, and positive social impact. Sustainable banks aim to support environmentally friendly and socially responsible projects while minimizing their own negative impacts. This approach not only aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and promote social equity but also offers financial institutions opportunities for long-term stability and growth in a rapidly changing world.


Welcome to the Sustainable Banking Model Guideline, a comprehensive resource developed by United Metric, dedicated to establishing a sustainable and responsible framework within the global banking industry. This guideline is designed to explore the pivotal role of banks in promoting economic growth and stability, while underscoring the urgency of integrating sustainability principles to address the pressing environmental and societal challenges of our era.
Banks have historically been at the forefront of economic development, driving financial progress, and safeguarding the interests of their stakeholders. As influential institutions within the financial sector, they possess the potential to lead transformative change and shape the economic destiny of regions and nations. Yet, in a world increasingly concerned with the repercussions of unsustainable practices, it is imperative for banks to set the example and take the lead in fostering a more sustainable and equitable financial ecosystem.
The global challenges we confront, such as climate change, resource depletion, social inequities, and economic disparities, necessitate collaborative and visionary actions from all sectors of society. As we progress towards a more interconnected and interdependent world, the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have emerged as a guiding framework, providing a holistic vision for a sustainable future. Banks can play a pivotal role by aligning their strategies and initiatives with these goals, ensuring that economic prosperity harmonizes with environmental responsibility and social advancement.
Recent years have borne witness to a growing awareness and urgency surrounding sustainability, with an increasing integration of sustainable practices into the core values and operations of banks. Customers, investors, and stakeholders now demand ethical and responsible conduct from financial institutions, elevating sustainability from a moral imperative to a strategic advantage. Banks, as custodians of financial integrity, must actively support and facilitate this transition, offering resources, tools, and best practices that empower their stakeholders to embrace sustainability as a competitive asset.
This guideline will act as a beacon, providing pragmatic insights, data-driven key performance indicators, and inspiring case studies of banks that have successfully integrated sustainability into their operations. By adopting sustainable banking practices, financial institutions can lead the way in constructing robust economies, fostering meaningful connections between finance and society, and catalyzing positive change on a global scale.
As we navigate the complexities and opportunities of the 21st century, the Sustainable Banking Model Guideline aspires to motivate and equip banks worldwide to be at the forefront of sustainable economic development. Through collective effort towards shared objectives, we can forge a prosperous future that benefits not only financial institutions but also our planet and all its inhabitants. Together, let us chart the path toward a sustainable, thriving, and inclusive tomorrow.

Sustainable banking encompasses 4 core dimensions to ensure a balanced and integrated approach: 

SDGs & Sustainable Bank 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals established by the United Nations to address various social, economic, and environmental challenges. Different banks may focus on different SDGs based on their priorities and operations. However, I can provide you with an overview of some common SDGs that sustainable banks often target, along with their corresponding sub-targets. Please note that the specific targets may vary depending on the bank's approach and objectives. Here are a few examples: 

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy 

  • Sub-target 7.1: Ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.
  • Sub-target 7.2: Increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure 

  • Sub-target 9.1: Develop reliable and sustainable infrastructure to support economic development.
  • Sub-target 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable and resource-efficient.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities 

  • Sub-target 11.2: Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems.
  • Sub-target 11.6: Reduce the adverse environmental impact of cities, including air quality and waste management.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production 

  • Sub-target 12.2: Achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
  • Sub-target 12.5: Substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.

SDG 13: Climate Action 

  • Sub-target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards.
  • Sub-target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into policies, strategies, and planning.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 

  • Sub-target 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships.


These are just a few examples, and sustainable banks may also prioritize other SDGs such as zero hunger (SDG 2), good health and well-being (SDG 3), gender equality (SDG 5), and more. It's essential to check with specific banks to understand their targeted SDGs and sub-targets, as they can differ based on their strategies and initiatives.