Spanish bank Banco Santander has also become a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB), committing to align its business with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The bank has joined a coalition of 130 banks worldwide, which have committed to "publish and work towards ambitious targets" on six different principles that are in line with the UN SDGs.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said: "With these critically important commitments and actions from nations worldwide comes the opportunity, right now, to build a sustainable economy."
We have ambitious targets for areas like financial empowerment, green finance, and gender diversity among others. And now we need to do more by collaborating, sharing best practice, and encouraging more businesses and individuals to act in a responsible way to the benefit of all,” Ana Botín, Santander's executive chairman
"The Principles for Responsible Banking are a significant move towards this sustainable economy. We cannot achieve our goals without a sustainable financial sector. I commend the signatories to the Principles and call on them to immediately begin the hard work of making good on their promises."
Santander had announced in July details of its responsible banking commitments, defining ten targets that support the bank's contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. The targets include a new commitment to raise over €120bn in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as a commitment to financially empower more than 10 million people over the same period through the expansion of the bank's microfinance, financial education programmes and other tools which provide access to financial services.
Ana Botín, Santander's executive chairman, said: "Every business has a responsibility to tackle today's global challenges. At Santander we've worked together to deliver profit with purpose - ensuring that our day to day operations help more people and businesses prosper in a sustainable way. "We have ambitious targets for areas like financial empowerment, green finance, and gender diversity among others. And now we need to do more by collaborating, sharing best practice, and encouraging more businesses and individuals to act in a responsible way to the benefit of all."
Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said: "When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as solution, everybody wins in the long-term."
As a signatory to the Principles, Santander has committed to using its products, services and relationships to support and accelerate the fundamental changes in our economies and lifestyles necessary to achieve shared prosperity for both current and future generations, the company said in a note.