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For financial institutions, sustainability has two components:

  • Managing environmental and social risks. Financial institutions can strengthen their portfolio by systematically evaluating environmental and social risks of lending and investment activities in order to minimize financial, liability and reputational risks arising from environmental and social issues.
  • Identifying and taking advantage of environmental business opportunities. Identifying opportunities for innovative product development in new areas related to sustainability entails creating financial products and services that support commercial activities with environmental and social benefits. A growing cluster of these opportunities has evolved and includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner production processes and technologies, carbon finance, and sustainable supply chains.

By effectively managing environmental and social opportunities and risks together, financial institutions create long-term value for their business. Business models that address these two dimensions are helping financial institutions differentiate themselves from competitors, improve their reputation among key customers and stakeholders, attract new capital, and generate goodwill and support from stakeholders through increased transparency.

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