The Environmental Responsibility of the World’s Largest Banks

Open access

Abstract

Sustainability transition is changing the role and function of banks, specially their products and services also in relation to stakeholders. Banks are one of the main actors supporting the transition to sustainable economy. The purpose of this study is to emphasise the role of world’s largest banks in that process. Banks are slowly responding to the new demand of sustainability and responsibility, and they try to align with it. The paper is based on an overview of the world’s five largest banks that employ corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting standards, together with detailed enumeration of pro-environmental activities included in the reports. The first section of this paper presents the most popular approaches to the problem at hand, as reported in professional literature. Section two presents the characteristics of the CSR actions in banks. The third section discusses the environmental actions of the biggest banks in Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reporting the most popular standard for reporting non-financial information. And the last part of the paper presents the conclusions resulting from the article. The research was conducted using a variety of sources, such as scientific articles, statistical data, CSR reports of the world’s largest banks, as well reporting principles and standard disclosures. The basic method used in the process of writing was a critical analysis of literature and reports concerning the CSR reporting standards, environmental responsibilities of different kinds of entities, as well as own observations based on special reports of banks. In the article, also the analysis of financial market data, induction method and comparison method have been used. The main conclusions of the analysis of the CSR reports disclosed by the world’s largest banks confirm all three of the theses presented in the article. The findings suggest that the banks under study can be regarded as environmentally responsible entities. Their reports and disclosures are produced according to the internationally recognized standards. There are also critical opinions about the standards for reporting environmental information, but the weaknesses of reporting these aspects do not undermine the benefits of using the GRI guidelines.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Atkisson A. (2012). Life Beyond Growth. Tokyo: ISHES.

  • Bouma J.J Jeucken M. & Klinkers L. (2017). Sustainable Banking: The Greening of Finance Routledge. 480 p.

  • Bratton E. & Mehmood J.Z. (2016). Largest 100 Banks in The World. S&P Global Market Intelligence Report. Retrieved from https://www.snl.com/InteractiveX/Article.aspx?cdid=A-36076706-13862

  • Dietz R. & O`Neill D. (2013). Enough is Enough. Building a Sustainable Economy in World of Infinite Resources London: Earthscan. 256 p.

  • Directive 2014/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings. (2014). Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32014L0095

  • Dziawgo L. (2010). Greening Financial Market. Eco-evolution of Financial Market PWE.

  • Dziawgo L. (2014). Greening Financial Market. Copernican Journal of Finance & Accounting 3(2) 9-23. https://doi.org/10.12775/CJFA.2014.014

  • Dziawgo L. & Dziawgo E. (2016). Ecological Evolution of Financial Market: Ecologically Responsible Investment. In Bilgin M. Danis H. Demir E. Can U. (Eds.) Business Challenges in the Changing Economic Landscape - Vol. 1. Eurasian Studies in Business and Economics 2(1) 167-178. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-22596-8_11

  • Financing a European Economy (2017). Interim Report By the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.

  • Fullwiler S.T. (2015). Sustainable Finance: Building a More General Theory of Finance. Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity Working Paper No. 106.

  • G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. Reporting Principles and Standard Disclosures. (2013). Global Reporting Initiatives. Retrieved from https://www.globalreporting.org/resourcelibrary/GRIG4-Part1-Reporting-Principles-and-Standard-Disclosures.pdf

  • Guez H. & Zaouati P. (2015). Positive Finance. A Toolkit for Responsible Transformation Greenleaf Publishing. 128 p.

  • Jackson T. (2009). Prosperity without Growth. Economics for Finite Planet. London: Earthscan. 288 p.

  • Jeucken M. (2004). Sustainability in Finance: Banking on the Planet Eburon Uitgeverij B.V. 19-23.

  • Leinaweaver J. (2015). Is Corporate Sustainability Reporting a Great Waste of Time? Retrieved December 15 2017 from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jan/06/corporate-sustainability-reporting-waste-time

  • Moneva J.M. Archel P.A. & Correa C.C. (2006). GRI and the Camouflaging of Corporate Unsustainability Accounting Forum 30 121-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.accfor.2006.02.001

  • NBP Report 2016 Financial System in Poland.

  • Recommendation of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.fsb-tcfd.org/

  • Schoenmaker D. van Tilburg R. & Wijffels H. (2015). What Role for Financial Supervisors in Addressing Systemic Environmental Risks? Sustainable Finance Lab Working Paper Utrecht: Sustainable Finance Lab.

  • The largest banks in the world [Ranking]. (2016). Retrieved February 28 2017 from http://www.bankier.pl/wiadomosc/Oto-najwieksze-banki-na-swiecie-Ranking-7359493.html

  • UNEP. (2017). On The Role Of Central Banks In Enhancing Green Finance Inquiry Working Paper 17/01.

  • Visser W. (2015). Sustainable Frontiers. Unlocking Change trough Business Leadership and Innovation Greenleaf Publishing. 245-253.

  • Zioło M. Fidanoski F. Simeonovski K. Filipovski V. & Jovanovska K. (2017). Sustainable Finance Role in Creating Conditions for Sustainable Economic Growth and Development. In Leal Filho W. et al. (Eds.) Sustainable Economic Development World Sustainability Series Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-45081-0_11

  • Figueros C. (2015). Paris Climate Change Conference - November 2015. United Nations Climate Change. Retrieved January 01 2018 from http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php.

  • GCF Dispatch. (2015). A Roundup of News from the Green Climate Fund Retrieved February 02 2018 from http://www.greenclimate.fund/-/gcf-dispatch-december-2015-issue-5-

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 548 393 16
PDF Downloads 369 286 7