In an exclusive contribution to the United Nations 2016 Global Compact Yearbook, Ruediger Senft, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Commerzbank, shows how trade can support sustainable development in the world economy.
His article, ‘Sustainable Trade and the Role of the Banking Industry’, highlights the key role financial institutions can play in ensuring that the commerce underpinning the global economy is facilitated in an ethically, socially, and environmentally friendly manner. Senft argues that “given their central role in facilitating global trade flows” banks are in a prime position to help the companies they finance conform to sustainable models.
Senft points out that Commerzbank, for its part, has made sustainable trade a pillar of its business. For instance, checking “more than 5,000 transactions a year” for strict environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, the bank will not finance any deal that cannot conform to its sustainability criteria. He explains that Commerzbank is also committed to promoting the long-term value of sustainability, to both its clients and the wider economy, stressing that a sustainable approach to trade has an inherent ‘business case’ in the long term.
The Global Compact Yearbook, published for the UN, details the ways in which companies and cities worldwide support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – 17 targets, agreed by world leaders in September 2015, intended to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. It offers case studies and examples of best-practice from those organisations, politicians and firms making grassroots progress toward the Goals.