Sustainability in Banking – Thematic Research

Pages: 31 Published: April 30, 2020 Report Code: GDRB-TR-S016

Banks exert an enormous indirect influence on the environment through their lending, investing, and advisory activities – so large that the UN insists without a “step change” in their activities it will be impossible to meet Paris Agreement goals. This puts responsibility for climate change squarely on banks’ shoulders at a time when millennials – as both customers and employees – strongly indicate they want their commercial providers to be accountable, and to articulate a purpose beyond profitability. This covers not just environmental impact but a wide range of social and governance considerations. Increasingly, both everything we buy and everything our money touches can and will be measured for its impact on sustainability. Just as “green” consumers want traceability in supply chains in order to know when they are facilitating harm or injustice, this is shifting now to tractability in their money. This means it is becoming socially unacceptable to not know where one’s money is and what it is doing. Digital, of course, can bring new levels of insight and visibility to this.


Sustainability is a way to atone for that by doing demonstrable good for local communities, employees, customers, and the environment, rather than the skin deep PR of “on your side” marketing campaigns.

Reasons to Buy

• Understand the key factors shaping the sustainability trend with the help of GlobalData’s ESG Framework.

• Discover which banks lead the way in terms of adopting and embracing sustainable solutions.

• Learn which initiatives have proven successful, and how sustainability in banking will develop going forward.

Key Players

Aspiration, JPMorgan Chase, Triodos Bank, ING, Barclays, Alipay, DBS, DiMuto, hiveonline, Standard Chartered, Danske Bank, TSB

Table of Contents

GlobalData’s Sustainability Framework




The impact of sustainability on banking




Sustainability challenges

It’s not always clear what is “best” based on data

It’s not always clear what is “best” based on customer preference

The short-term versus long-term trade off

It takes time to create organization-wide, purposeful sustainability

Sustainability means different things to different types of financial services provider

Moral relativism

Ethical is not enough (on its own)

True business model change requires cutting-edge modern tech

Sustainability measurement and response

ESG advisors

ESG ratings agencies


Case studies






Appendix: Our thematic research methodology

Frequently Asked Questions

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