How we will walk the walk over sustainability

How we will walk the walk over sustainability

Paul Stockwell, Chief Commercial Officer

Creating a more sustainable world has not always topped the agenda, but individuals and businesses are increasingly holding a mirror up to themselves to ask if they are doing enough to improve society and tackle climate change.

Those who once did not give a thought as to how banks operate and generate profits now want to know how banks’ services, management of funds and products benefit the wider community. Socially responsible principles are now a key consideration for many.

Gatehouse Bank has always prided itself on its ethical principles and the ‘fairness’ enshrined through being a shariah-compliant bank. These principles already prohibit us from doing business with a number of sectors, including military weapons, gambling, alcohol, tobacco and adult entertainment.

However, we are committed to building on these to contribute to becoming sustainable in the future and that is why we recently became one of the 130 founding signatories of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Banking.

The UN principles outline that “only in an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and sustainable use of natural resources” can our employees, customers and businesses thrive and we believe that the scheme provides a framework to further shape the bank’s culture, products and services.

We will shortly start to carry out an analysis of the impact the bank has on society, looking at how we engage with customers, colleagues, the communities in which we operate and the environment.

We will publish a report into our findings and then set a minimum of two targets to improve on based on the areas the report highlights as those that we could have the greatest positive impact on. These targets will be linked to the UN’s sustainable development goals.

We would encourage more of our peers to do the same, as only by working as a collective can we really effect positive change for our societies and the planet that we live on.

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative highlights that “our success and ability to remain profitable and relevant is intrinsically dependent on the long-term prosperity of the societies we serve”.

We agree.

And we accept that signing these principles won’t change the world overnight. But being prepared to act on them, invest in them and lead by example is how we will help demonstrate to the rest of the banking industry that doing business by ethical principles is no barrier to successful businesses.

This blog was featured on Specialist Banking.