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Are Banks really responsible in a digital world? Challenges on United Nations COP25

This week, we held a discussion on Responsible Banking on the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25). It connected different experts from Bank of Spain, Santander, etc.

In terms of green banking, the EU is considering a “green supporting factor” for bank lending: for example, encouraging banks to finance energy-efficient homes, zero-emissions transport or other green investment. Santander issued €1 billion of 7-year green bonds to fund wind and solar power projects.

It is now a top priority in Financial Services to encourage sustainable practices, not just in terms of green banking, but overall sustainability of economic activities.The Principles for Responsible Banking have been signed this year by 130 banks from 49 countries, representing +USD47 trillion in assets. These banks represent different regions: Barclays, BBVA, Bradesco, Citi, ICBC, ING or National Australia Bank. The principles focus on increase the positive impacts of banks worldwide, and reducing the negative impacts on both people and environment.

In a digital era, transparency is a must for all banks, as well as been accountable for their impact. Some banks are coordinating the digital transformation efforts with these goals. For example, BBVA considers digitalization as key to accelerating sustainable finance. For example: using Artificial Intelligence for financial inclusion through digital identification, or building cross-sectorial ecosystems and partnerships.

But this topic raises also challenges, such as the possibility of causing digital division, or amplification of biases. In a context of regulatory pressures and increasing customers demands, is the industry evolving fast enough? Time to act


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