Principles for Responsible Banking announces NGO advisors

12-strong group will evaluate signatory progress on sustainability

WWF and ShareAction are among 12 NGOs to be appointed to the new Civil Advisory Body of the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB). 

The body will be responsible for collective engagement with the PRB’s 219 signatories and will evaluate their progress. Other members include Ceres, FGVces, the John D. Gerhart Center, Conservation International, Climate Action Network, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, UNI Global Union and the European Federation of Investors and Financial Services Users.

The Principles were set up in 2019 to encourage banks to align their financing with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. Members include BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank, and represent over a third of the global banking industry.

The advisory body was chosen following an open application process and period of public consultation, which saw 45 organisations compete for the places. 

“The public consultation phase was open for three weeks. The secretariat received 2 responses, which did not have a material bearing on the outcome,” said the PRB in a statement. “One organization withdrew its candidacy, recognizing that its interests were already represented by another applicant.”

Organisations have been appointed to represent geographic regions, sustainability themes and stakeholder groups, such as employees and SME Clients. Members will also be responsible for consulting with other organisations in their respective areas.

There was fierce competition for the climate slot, which saw 14 applicants, including Ceres, ShareAction, CDP and SASB, while the Africa and Middle East role has been filled by the sole applicant, the John D. Gerhart Center at the American University in Cairo.

However, some groups have criticised the new body, with Dutch campaign group Bank Track refusing to apply for a place. Its Director Johan Frijns told RI in February that “[Bank Track] does not exist in the world to help implement bank initiatives, but to track whether banks that sign up to them actually deliver on their promises and push them forward if they don't”. Frijns also raised concerns about the role PRB member banks would play in the selection process.