The Chief Executives of some of the world’s largest banks created the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) in 2010. Its mission is to lead the banking industry in collectively directing capital towards environmentally and socially sustainable economic development.
15 September 2015 – Ahead of a series of meetings of central banks and financial regulators in September, CISL and partners have issued a briefing for policymakers to summarise the current thinking on the links between financial stability and environmental (and social) risks.
3 July 2015 – Standard Chartered Bank today become the tenth bank to formally adopt the Soft Commodities Compact, which aligns the banking industry with The Consumer Goods Forum’s resolution to help achieve zero net deforestation in their supply chains by 2020.
Professor Alexander presents key findings on the report 'Stability and Sustainability in Banking Reform'
June 2015 – Professor Kern Alexander, lead author of ‘Stability and Sustainability in Banking Reform: Are Environmental Risks Missing from Basel III?’ gave a 10-minute overview of the main conclusions of his report at the Cambridge Expert Dialogue in April 2015. A video of his presentation is now available.
16 June 2015 – As part of expanding its programme of work, the BEI is exploring the value it can add in enabling the stable growth of the green bonds market, itself a powerful contribution to the BEI’s mission to direct capital towards socially and environmentally sustainable economic development.
9 June 2015 – Building on the pilot Sustainable Shipment Letter of Credit for palm oil, the BEI has now formed a ‘Sustainable Trade Finance’ Council.
1 June 2015 – In April, the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) welcomed its newest member, Royal Bank of Scotland, to its membership of 11 global banks working to lead the banking industry in directing capital towards socially and environmentally sustainable economic development.
Banking Environment Initiative Sustainable Shipment Letter of Credit shortlisted for Financial Times Award
28 April 2015 – Trade finance product shortlisted in the finance category of the FT’s Transformational Business Awards.
24 April 2015 – WWF’s Chief Economics Adviser in the UK highlights 'Soft Commodities' Compact between Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) and Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) as an example of global business leadership.
20 April 2015 – FT article 'Sustainability in commodities accrues momentum' talks about the work of the Banking Environment Initiative.
21 January 2015 – How do Banks Finance Commodity Supply Chains? And how could they support the growth of sustainable production?
5 January 2015 – Rabobank has become the ninth bank to formally adopt the ‘Soft Commodities’ Compact between the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF).
30 October 2014 - The BEI has created a Compact Implementation Group, the purpose of which is to support an industry-level approach to implementation of the section of the ‘Soft Commodities’ Compact with the Consumer Goods Forum that relates to ‘Raising Industry-wide Banking Standards’. The group is convened and co-ordinated by CISL.
27 October 2014 – The BEI has recently welcomed its newest member, Goldman Sachs, to its group of 12 global banks leading on directing capital towards sustainable economic development.
October 2014, report – The BEI’s focus to date has been driving sustainability standards into banking products and services by working with groups of leading customers. Its work in soft commodity supply chains has seen banks aligning with clients to develop commercially viable trade finance products and services that incentivise sustainable resource management. However, it has always been clear that those who regulate the financial system have a role to play in identifying and mitigating the potentially destabilising effects of environmental risks across the banking system as a whole.
08 October 2014 – The BEI has recently welcomed its newest member, Standard Chartered, to its group of 11 global banks leading on directing capital towards sustainable economic development.
23 September 2014 – September saw world leaders, business and civil society convene for the UN Climate Summit in New York.
17 September 2014 – This half-day seminar, co-hosted with Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE), brought together representatives from regional and international banks and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), as well as Chinese banking regulator, the CRBC, and leading food manufacturer and trader, COFCO.
15 September 2014 – The purpose of this half-day seminar, hosted in partnership with Bank Negara Indonesia, was to explore whether there is value inherent in the BEI and Indonesian banking industry collaborating to ‘green’ banking services.
09 September 2014 – During the most highly rated session of the week, the BEI presented its work on sustainable trade finance work at the largest trade finance conference in the world.
Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins led a group of representatives of global banks meeting in Hong Kong on June 24, 2014 to explore ways that banks can work with companies to promote sustainable means of production, starting with agricultural commodities.
8 July 2014 – The current group of eight adopting banks comprises BEI members Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander and Westpac as well as BNP Paribas, RBS and UBS, who are not BEI members.
24 June 2014 – Over 100 representatives of banks, consumer goods companies, agricultural producers and NGOs attended the BEI Forum 2014 in Hong Kong. The event was opened by Antony Jenkins, CEO of Barclays. He was followed by more than 20 speakers in keynotes and panels.
29 April 2014 – Following the launch of the BEI’s Sustainable Shipment Letter of Credit (LC) at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014, the BEI has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to enable preferential treatment for trade in agricultural goods that meet internationally-recognised sustainability standards.
2 April 2014 – The ‘Soft Commodities’ Compact, a unique, client-led initiative that aims to mobilise the banking industry as a whole to contribute to transforming soft commodity supply chains – and therefore help clients achieve zero net deforestation by 2020 – is now available.
24 January 2014 – A new research project as been established to investigate whether financial sector regulation in its current form could actually be increasing financial sector risk by failing to take adequate account of both positive and negative environmental externalities that affect financial stability.
Sustainable Shipment Letter of Credit: A financing solution to incentivise sustainable commodity trade
January 2014 – The first tangible result of the ‘Soft Commodities’ Compact has been produced. The BEI’s Sustainable Shipment Letter of Credit is a financing solution that can be used by banks to incentivise the international trade of sustainably produced commodities. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has confirmed it will offer preferential terms for this type of shipment to its partner banks, offering the potential reductions in the cost of capital.
The White House: BEI joins consumer goods giants to brief Obama Administration on incentivising sustainable agricultural commodity production
4 December 2013 – Represented by Jeremy Wilson, Vice Chairman of Corporate Banking at Barclays and Chair of the BEI’s Working Group, the BEI joined Chief Executives of Consumer Goods Forum companies Unilever, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Royal Ahold & Co, SC Johnson, Walmart and Cargill to brief the Obama Administration on how BEI banks and CGF companies are working together to drive deforestation out of supply chains.
September 2013 – The organisers of GTR’s Asia Trade Finance Week – the largest trade finance conference for companies, trading houses, banks and insurers in Asia – asked the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the banks of the Banking Environment Initiative to present the concept we have been developing for a ‘Sustainable Shipment’ model that would offer financial incentives for the trade of sustainably produced commodities, including agricultural commodities like palm oil, soy, timber products and beef.
BEI ‘Sustainable Shipment Letter of Credit’ concept warmly received by BAFT-IFSA and ICC Banking Commission
April 2013 – The BEI’s inaugural Forum in London in November 2012 inspired an idea for integrating commodity-specific sustainability standards into the documentary trade finance process. This could prove to be a key enabler in the emergence of verifiably sustainable commodities on traded markets.