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.
State of play
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.
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.
This is particularly true in Asia-Pacific, where only one Australian bank is ranked as a ‘leader’ while others fall behind on governance and risk management. To provide a more regional outlook, we produced an APAC edition of the global study to dive into how financial institutions are performing in the region.
With Environmental, Social and Governance factors, and responsible banking practices more broadly becoming an essential focus for the banking industry, Mazars has assessed how banks are embedding sustainability into their commercial practices.
Up against great economic and societal upheaval as a result of Covid-19, banks around the world continue to take sustainability seriously and firmly acknowledge the related risks and opportunities, for the market and wider stakeholders alike. For the second year running, Mazars publishes its responsible banking practices report to assess how banks embed sustainability into their commercial practices.