HFSF aims to contribute in achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement through responsible stewardship in its investment portfolio and by reducing its own emissions. HFSF recognizes that a country’s prosperity and economic growth is greatly backed by the banking sector, and therefore, Banks have a wider impact and responsibility in improving sustainability of society and environment, to pave a better future for next generations.
Banks are now increasingly implementing sustainable banking both in their internal daily operations (in terms of how they manage their physical branches/locations, human capital, costs, opportunities) and their activities relating to external interactions with their clients and the types of investment projects they fund. Also, Banks increasingly shift from simply trying to manage their environmental and social risks to proactively seeking new opportunities presented by sustainability principles and using these to differentiate themselves in the market.
By incorporating sustainability principles in corporate strategy, funding decisions and product/service definition processes, Banks can be influential in supporting and promoting environmentally and/or socially responsible projects and enterprises. Innovative products and services that target certain populations or that encourage purchase of green products go a long way to promoting sustainable practices.
Although significant progress has been made by the banking sector as a whole, there are still opportunities to further improve and monitor sustainable banking practices by incorporating qualitative and quantitative criteria in banks’ risk appetite framework, especially in funding low-carbon and climate-resilient projects and integrate their sustainability strategies to their overall business plans.
As the urgency of the collective challenges of our time require concerted and ambitious action on all levels, the HFSF, as a strategic shareholder of the Greek systemic Banks, considers it a top priority to play a leading role in the process of transition to a more sustainable banking. On that respect it has endorsed the UNEP-FI’s Principles for Responsible Banking which help banks align their business strategy with society’s goals.
Overall HFSF aims to be an active owner and a driving force for investee companies to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and to increase its understanding of the impact of climate change and energy transition. HFSF reports its sustainability work annually and aims to publish a report that is clearly presented, balanced and credible and in line with best practice. The latest report can be found below.