Sustainable banking refers to financial institutions that prioritise environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their operations and investments. Here is a list of some of the top sustainable banks in the world, based on various sustainability rankings and assessments.
Triodos Bank is a sustainable banking institution based in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1980 and operates in multiple countries across Europe, offering personal and business banking services. Triodos Bank is known for its focus on ethical and sustainable finance, investing in projects and organizations that have a positive social, environmental, and cultural impact. This includes funding for renewable energy, organic food production, and fair trade initiatives, among others.
Nordea is a leading financial services group headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. It was founded in 2003 and is one of the largest banks in the Nordic and Baltic regions. Nordea offers a range of banking and financial services, including retail banking, corporate banking, wealth management, and insurance, among others. The bank operates in several countries across the Nordics and Europe and serves over 11 million customers. Nordea is known for its strong focus on digital innovation and sustainability and has a reputation for providing high-quality financial services and products to its customers.
Rabobank is a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company. It was founded in 1898 and is headquartered in Utrecht, Netherlands. Rabobank operates as a cooperative and provides a wide range of banking services to individuals, small businesses, and large corporations. These services include retail banking, commercial banking, asset management, and insurance, among others. The bank is known for its focus on sustainability and ethical banking practices and has a strong reputation for serving the needs of rural and agricultural communities. Rabobank operates in several countries across Europe and has a significant presence in the Netherlands and Belgium.
BNP Paribas is a French multinational bank and financial services company. It was founded in 2000 through the merger of Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Paribas. BNP Paribas is headquartered in Paris and is one of the largest banks in the world by total assets. The bank offers a wide range of financial services including retail banking, corporate and investment banking, asset management, and insurance. BNP Paribas operates in over 70 countries worldwide and serves clients in multiple markets including Europe, Asia, and North America. The bank has a reputation for its expertise in investment banking and its focus on sustainability and social responsibility.
Crédit Agricole is a French multinational bank and financial services company. It was founded in 1894 and is headquartered in Montrouge, France. Crédit Agricole is one of the largest banking groups in France and one of the largest retail banking networks in Europe. The bank offers a wide range of financial services, including retail banking, corporate and investment banking, asset management, and insurance, among others. Crédit Agricole is known for its strong presence in the French market and its focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The bank has a significant international presence, operating in over 50 countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
DBS Bank (Singapore) is a leading banking and financial services group based in Singapore. It was established in 1968 and is headquartered in Marina Bay, Singapore. DBS Bank is the largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets and offers a comprehensive range of banking and financial services, including retail banking, wealth management, corporate banking, and investment banking, among others. The bank has a strong digital presence and is known for its focus on innovation and sustainability. DBS Bank operates in several markets in Asia, including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and India, and serves a diverse range of customers, from individuals and small businesses to large corporations. The bank has a reputation for providing high-quality financial services and for being a leader in sustainability and social responsibility initiatives in the region.
Swedbank is a leading Nordic-Baltic banking and financial services group based in Sweden. It was founded in 1820 and is headquartered in Stockholm. Swedbank offers a comprehensive range of financial services, including retail banking, wealth management, corporate banking, and investment banking, among others. The bank serves over 7 million customers in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Swedbank is known for its strong digital presence and its focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The bank has a reputation for providing high-quality financial services and for being a trusted partner for its customers in the Nordic-Baltic region.
Standard Chartered Bank UK is committed to sustainable banking practices, which aim to balance financial performance with positive social and environmental impact. The bank has set sustainability targets, such as reducing carbon emissions, financing renewable energy projects, and promoting diversity and inclusion. Standard Chartered also offers sustainable finance solutions, such as green bonds and impact investment products, to help clients transition to a low-carbon economy. Additionally, the bank conducts sustainability risk assessments for its lending activities and works with clients to integrate sustainability considerations into their business strategies.
ING Bank is a leading financial institution that places sustainability at the center of its strategy. The bank’s approach to sustainable banking is centered on three pillars: reducing its own environmental footprint, financing sustainable economic activities, and fostering a culture of sustainability.
In terms of reducing its own environmental impact, ING Bank has set ambitious targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiency, and move to a more sustainable workplace. To finance sustainable economic activities, ING Bank offers a range of sustainable finance solutions, including green bonds and loans, as well as advice and support to clients seeking to transition to a low-carbon economy.
In addition to its practical actions, ING Bank also promotes a culture of sustainability by engaging with employees, clients, and stakeholders on sustainability issues and encouraging sustainability-focused innovation. The bank also regularly publishes sustainability reports to provide transparency on its performance and progress toward its sustainability goals.
KfW is a German development bank that is known for its focus on sustainable finance. KfW provides financing and support to a wide range of projects that promote sustainable development in Germany and around the world.
In terms of sustainable finance, KfW offers a range of products and services designed to promote environmental and social sustainability. This includes financing for renewable energy projects, energy efficiency measures, and sustainable transportation, as well as programs to support sustainable urban development, biodiversity conservation, and climate adaptation.
KfW also has a strong commitment to transparency and accountability in its sustainability practices. The bank regularly publishes sustainability reports that provide detailed information on its performance in areas such as carbon emissions, resource use, and stakeholder engagement.
Overall, KfW’s focus on sustainable finance has made it a leader in promoting environmental and social sustainability in the German and global financial sectors.
Editors’ note: The entries on this list are not placed in order of products, services, or size of customer bases, but are (at the time of publication) the current leaders globally in sustainable banking practices. They are also subject to change. Different organisations may have different criteria and methodologies for determining sustainability. Additionally, sustainability is a constantly evolving area, and financial institutions are continually improving their practices.