"As a key player in the globalization of the world economy, the financial services sector, and in particular the banking industry, can play a major role in promoting environmental protection and sustainable development," said Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, Director of UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics. "It is now time for aware and active banks, acting as responsible global institutions, to move from assessing the environmental challenge to implementing solutions. The action of the Good Bankers Ltd. is a most welcome expression of corporate leadership and environmental stewardship and I am sure that they will be an example to other Japanese companies of the importance of environmental issues to the financial services sector."
The Financial Institutions Initiative on the Environment was launched in 1992 as a partnership between UNEP and the international financial community to advance the level of dialogue within all segments of the financial sector about the relationship between environment, trade and development, and to foster greater accord to environmental considerations in credit, investment, and operational decisions.
"Ecology is no longer a word of thought. Ecology is a word of action," said Mr. Masashi Kaneko President and CEO of Nikko Securities. "It has been one of our greatest challenges to provide the Japanese financial world with the ecology-and- economy product in the form of investment trust."
Nikko Asset Management Co., Ltd. started the operation of "Nikko Eco-fund" last August, becoming the first Japanese asset management firm to launch an investment trust that invests in corporations which have made special efforts to deal with environmental issues. The concept of the fund has been widely accepted by investors.
"Our company, along with Nikko Securities, which sells the Eco- fund, and Good Bankers Co. Ltd., which gives advice on asset management for the fund, are the first in the Japanese financial services industry to sign the UNEP statement. We feel it a great honor to be the first to declare internationally that we are participating in this global environment conservation project through the asset management business," said Mr. Akira Takahashi, President and CEO of Nikko Asset Management.
We feel honored to become the first signatory to the UNEP financial initiative in Japan. We owe this privilege to all investors and to the mainstream finance who helped us in providing the platform of eco-funds, the first Japanese environmentally friendly funds," said Ms. Mizue Tsukushi, CEO of the Good Bankers Co. Ltd.
Ms. Linda Descano, Director Social Awareness investment, Smith Barney Asset Management and chair of the Initiatives Steering Committee, noted, "The Good Bankers Ltd endorsement reflects a growing awareness within the financial industry of the strategic importance of the environment to investment and lending practice."
The endorsement by the three Japanese companies brings the total number of signatories to the UNEP Financial Institutions Initiative to 171, who represent banks and financial institutions from over 45 countries worldwide. Other signatories include HSBC Holdings Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, UBS AG, Credit Suisse, Lloyds TSB Group, and Barclays.
The UNEP Financial Institutions Initiative forms part of the UNEP Financial Services Initiatives facilitated by UNEP's Economics and Trade Unit. Aspects of UNEP's support to members of the Initiative include the dissemination of best practices, comprehensive surveys of the membership, publications, extensive international outreach meetings and regular roundtable summits where ongoing activities and future plans are discussed.
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UNEP Information Note 2000/15