Virgin Money becomes Signatory to the UN’s Global Principles for Responsible Banking

  • Virgin Money’s launches new sustainability strategy
  • Plan to embed sustainability across all Virgin Money business areas
  • Virgin Money adopting two new sustainability targets:
    - achieving ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030
    - targeting 5% of business banking loans being focussed on firms pursuing activity promoting environmental sustainability

Virgin Money is proud to announce it has signed as an official Signatory of the United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Banking – a single framework for a sustainable banking industry developed through an innovative partnership between banks worldwide and the UN’s Finance Initiative.

The plan is to embed sustainability into all its business practices so that it can realise the long-term opportunities of being a sustainable business, while mitigating risks from climate change and social inequality.

Virgin Money is committed to combatting climate change and playing its part in limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius this century, in line with the Paris Agreement. It aims to have ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030.

The Company is also developing a stretching benchmark for appraising businesses that are actively engaged in activities that advance the cause of environmental sustainability. It will target its activities such that, over a period of time, at least 5% of the business loan book will be directed towards businesses meeting the agreed benchmark.

Working with stakeholders, Virgin Money has identified three big goals where it can make the most material difference to society. These three goals form the bedrock of the sustainability strategy: increase financial inclusion and wellbeing; remove barriers to business and community success; and protect and nurture the environment. These have been mapped to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Principles for Responsible Banking set out the banking industry’s role and responsibility in shaping a sustainable future and in aligning the banking sector with the objectives of the UN SDGs and the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. They also, importantly, enable a bank to embed sustainability across all its business areas, and to identity where it has the potential to make the most impact in its contributions to a sustainable world. It also enables a bank to leverage new business opportunities with the emergence of the sustainable development economy.

APEM Ltd, an independent environmental consultancy, located throughout the UK and worldwide, was recently supported through a management buyout by Virgin Money.

Dr Adrian Williams, Managing Director of APEM Ltd, said: “A key consideration for APEM working with Virgin Money on such an important step forward for our business, was because they showed great understanding of the increasing relevance to the economy and society of the work we do for our customers, guiding them on making the right choices that help protect our planet. It is imperative that companies, no matter what the size or sector, ensure that being sustainable and ensuring our environment is cared for is a key driver in their focus moving forward.”

David Duffy, Virgin Money Chief Executive said: “Virgin Money is extremely proud to sign up to the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Banking. This gives us a great opportunity to drive our sustainability strategy and articulate how we are concentrating our efforts to meet society’s goals. The needs and expectations of society are changing and banks have a critical role to play in supporting this transition. As a Company we must do our utmost to ensure our practices and business models are sustainable for our environment and communities so that we create value for all our stakeholders not only for this generation but for the future generations too.”

The Principles provide the framework for a sustainable banking system, and help the industry to demonstrate how it makes a positive contribution to society.