The guidance explicitly refers to banks publishing lists of activities for which they will not provide finance, or criteria that clients must meet to be eligible for finance. Matthews said that it was likely that such lists would "become more prevalent" amongst signatory banks.
The PRBs recognise the "key role" which banks play in society. Signatories "want to take a leadership role and use our 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".
Signatory banks commit to align their business strategy with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, to increase their positive impacts and minimise their negative impacts on people and the environment, and to "work responsibly" with clients, customers and other stakeholders to encourage sustainable practices and economic activity. They commit to making changes to their governance practices and culture to implement their commitment to the PRBs, and to be transparent and accountable about their progress.
Although action to tackle climate change is growing, it is still far short of what is needed to meet the 1.5 degree global warming limit target set by the 2018 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. At the same time, addressing the SDGs could unlock $12 trillion in annual business savings and revenue and create 380 million more jobs by 2030. A "step change" in the way in which the banking and private sectors invest is needed for this transition to be achieved, according to the UNEP.
The implementation framework requires each participant to set, publish and work towards at least two targets that address at least two of that bank's most significant potential positive and negative environmental impacts. Signatories should regularly self-assess their progress and obtain third party assurance of that progress where possible. The UN intends to publish collective progress reports every two years.
Inger Andersen, executive director of the UNEP, said: "A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate resilient economies, it can benefit from it. When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, 'brown' investments to those that back nature as a solution, everybody wins in the long-term".