ESG in Banking and Financial Services

ESG in Banking and Financial Services

September 4, 2022
ESG in Banking and Financial Services

ESG — these three letters encompass an entire concept that significantly impacts our society, economy, and environment. Over the years, ESG in the Philippines has become a megatrend across industries, including banking and finance, quickly permeating all levels of how they operate.

Here, we look at how ESG in the banking and financial industry is driving sustainability initiatives and how we at Aboitiz-led UnionBank have taken a holistic approach to create a more effective, efficient, and sustainable future.


Why should ESG initiatives matter to the banking and finance sector?

Why should ESG initiatives matter to the banking and finance sector?

When we think of banking and finance, sustainability may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, over the last decade, economic dislocation, social unrest, and environmental decline have ushered in a heightened focus on ESG-related issues. 

Today, more than ever,  doing business responsibly has become imperative. Banks and financial institutions play a crucial role in sustainable economic growth and transformation. That is why at  UnionBank,  we seize endless opportunities to create a better world through innovation, focusing on holistic, inclusive, and sustainable solutions. 


How do we implement our ESG strategy?

How do we implement our ESG strategy?

For our ESG strategy, we put our environmental and social responsibility at the forefront of every decision we make. This enables us to move towards sustainable development while managing the risks and opportunities of a constantly evolving business environment. 

In line with this, we established our ESG mission, “Teching Up”, which is built on three main pillars aligned to our sustainability agenda:  protecting the environment, promoting equity, and fostering trust and stability. , 


Digital Transformation

At UnionBank, we embrace the future of banking by developing innovative platforms. We collaborate and partner with digital leaders for our shared purpose of co-creating valuable innovations for a better world, and undergo internal and external training. 


Sustainable Finance

We understand our responsibility in moving capital and mitigating environmental and social risks in our financing activities. We invest in technologies that enable financial inclusion. In turn, this enhances our financial ecosystem and contributes to our higher purpose of empowering long-term economic growth by improving the capability of Filipinos in wealth management.


Inclusive Prosperity

This concerns our overall impact in terms of sustainable practices, and in achieving inclusive financial development. From employment generation to empowering underprivileged and rural communities, we monitor how effective our current initiatives are in meeting our ESG agenda.

Ultimately, we hope to bring valuable financial services and inclusive platforms to transform communities, empower businesses and entrepreneurs, and uplift the Filipino way of life. Each year, we build upon these efforts, details of which can be viewed in our ESG and Sustainable Finance pages.


Our latest ESG efforts

Our framework has helped us design a complex range of solutions, which allows us to identify new ways to push our sustainability agenda.

One such solution is our drive to “Tech Up Pilipinas,” which seeks to place the Philippines as a G20 country by 2050. To achieve this, we stand firm on our promise to empower the future of banking by proactively investing in and co-creating financial innovations for our customers. 

With sustainability in mind, we make it a point to innovate beyond our business concerns. We focus on resolving underlying financial problems confronting many Filipinos, such as financial illiteracy, inequity, and lack of accessibility.

At UnionBank, we are also fully committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Thus, we have taken action to “green” all of our branches using the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). 

UnionBank was the first high-rise financial center in the country to operate solely on renewable energy sources starting in 2017. Since then, we have transformed our bank branches and workspaces into sustainable structures. On the individual level, we encourage our people to pursue more sustainable lifestyles.

As part of our commitment to serve not only our external but also our internal stakeholders, we have implemented a holistic approach to safeguard the welfare of our employees.  We have designed several programs to uplift and develop their physical, mental, and financial well-being.

At UnionBank,  a leader in the Philippine financial sector,  we put our ESG concerns at the center of how we cater to our customers. We are committed to empowering and encouraging inclusive development within our sector. We do so with full transparency as our Sustainable Finance Report is uploaded every year on our website. 


Key Takeaway

ESG in the banking and financial industry reveals risks that push executives to think more strategically about their companies’ response.  Today, we at UnionBank are at the forefront of meeting such risks head-on, and proactively take the opportunity to leverage innovative technology, create new partnerships, and address major societal issues through our ESG framework. 

With our mission to be an enabler of the Philippines’ push to a healthier, thriving economy, we stand firm in our goal to improve the future of banking in our country — and create a better world for all.  Read about our initiatives in our Annual and Sustainability Report, which quantifies our ESG journey thus far.

ESG in Banking and Financial Services
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