The 13 Most Sustainable Banks of the Year

According to Lionel Barber, the Editor-in-Chief of the Financial Times, “The financial crisis has necessitated a re-assessment of the way in which banks and investment houses operate.” The UK-based publication holds an annual sustainable banking conference, recognizing the banks and financial institutions that exhibit leadership and innovation in integrating social, environmental, and CSR issues into their operations. “The winners of these awards are radically changing the industry’s approach to risk and opportunity,” added Barber.
The Dutch bank Triodos was named the Sustainable Bank of the Year last week, in part for its management of three microfinance funds the bank lends to and invests in over 85 microfinance institutions in 38 countries, across Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

This year, the shortlist of finalists were chosen out of 117 institutions across 42 countries:
* Deutsche Bank, Germany
* Grupo Santander, Brasil
* Industrial Bank, China
* Standard Chartered, UK
* Triodos Bank, Netherlands
It is interesting to note that the finalists represent both developing and developed regions around the world. Several US institutions were recognized as well, including Root Capital, Global Environment Fund, and E+Co, the latter two being named the Sustainable Investors of the year.
As studies highlight the current lack of trust in the banking industry, Lars Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC, a co-sponsor of this year’s conference, remarked: 

The current crisis underscores that sustainability is at the core of building a healthy global economy. A growing number of financial institutions, especially those in emerging markets, are driving this change by proving that promoting a clean environment and serving those at the bottom of the pyramid can be sources of business opportunities.

Here is the complete list of winners:
Sustainable Bank of the Year
* Winner: Triodos Bank, Netherlands
* Runner-up: Standard Chartered, UK
Emerging Markets Sustainable Bank of the Year
* Winner: Itau Unibanco, Brazil
* Regional winner Africa/Middle East: Equity Bank, Kenya
* Regional winner Asia: Industrial Bank, China
* Regional winner Eastern Europe: Industrial Development Bank of Turkey (TSKB)
* Regional winner Latin America: Itau Unibanco
Achievement in Basic Needs Financing
* Winner: MicroEnsure, UK
* Runner-up: Water Capital, Mexico
Achievement in Banking at the Bottom of the Pyramid
* Winner: Root Capital, US
* Runner-up: WIZZIT, South Africa
Sustainable Investor of the Year
* Winner: Global Environment Fund, US
* Runner-up: E+Co, US

Ashwin is an Associate Editor of Triple Pundit. He recently returned to the Bay Area after living in Argentina, where he wholeheartedly missed the Pacific Ocean. He is a freelance editor and media and marketing consultant.After a brief stint working in the wine world, when not staring blankly at a computer screen, you'll find him working on Anand Confections or at 826 Valencia, where he has been a long-time volunteer.

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