The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has announced new industry guidelines which aim to integrate sustainability into the sector.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria will be added to banks’ lending decision-making and risk assessments, along with increased transparency and accountability on such issues.
For the banks involved (158 foreign banks along with the three largest local banks – DBS, UOB and OCBC) this means:
– A commitment to responsible financing published in their annual reports
– The release of full ESG frameworks in 12-18 months’ time
– Allocation of resources for internal capacity building and education in related topics
This announcement follows unprecedented levels of haze (exacerbated and extended by this year’s El Niño episode) which engulfs the city-state and the surrounding region leading to school closures, air-traffic delays and costs running to billions of dollars.
Investments in forestry companies who create peatland fires in Indonesia – the origin of the haze – have been publically criticised.
The ABS acknowledges that “responsible financing is vital in the sustainable development journey”.
Image credit: Peter Gronemann / Flickr