Publication Date: 31/05/2016

27 May 2016

Joint Media Statement:

The Banking Association South Africa and UNEP FI 

BASA signs agreement to join UNEP FI’s as Supporting Institution

In celebration of 15 years of collaboration, the Banking Association South Africa (BASA) has become the first Banking Industry Association in Africa and third globally, to join the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)  as a supporting partner and achieve a Supporting Institution Status.

The partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the Banking Association of South Africa (BASA) dates back to 2002, during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) which took place in Johannesburg. Since then, the Banking Association has played an important role in setting up and supporting the Initiative’s Africa Task Force, in a deliberate effort to strategically promote sustainable finance in the South African banking sector.

South Africa is now among the countries with the largest number of UNEP FI members on the African continent. Milestones of the BASA– UNEP FI relation include the hosting of UNEP FI’s 2009 Global Roundtable (GRT) in South Africa, Cape Town as well as the completion of a BASA-Bank Seta training programme on environmental and social risk in 2013.

In 2015, the Banking Association implemented “Principles for Managing Environmental & Social Risks”. These Principles recognise the role that financial institutions can play in the protection, promotion and fulfillment of social, economic and environmental rights in South Africa by conducting and reporting on their operations, business, lending and investing practices in a sustainable manner. As responsible corporate citizens, members commit themselves to the Principles.

The Banking Association South Africa has also created a Sustainable Finance Committee to promote understanding and best practice nationally within the sector, which members of the UNEP FI Delegation will be introduced to and participate in alongside member banks after the official signing of the agreement.

A key area of emphasis under the partnership is expected to be UNEP FI’s new Positive Impact Initiative, which is focused on up-scaling the availability of finance for the pursuit of environmental, social and development goals through the development of impact-based business and financing solutions.

“South African banks have played a pioneering role in the region and the renewed partnership between BASA and UNEP FI confirms the country’s stewardship in relation to sustainable finance, opening up new possibilities towards achieving sustainability goals not only locally but also regionally and globally,” says Careen Abb, Banking Commission Coordinator for UNEP FI.

According to the General Manager for Human Settlements at the Banking Association, Pierre Venter: “The sustainable finance market is evolving rapidly. Adopting UNEP FI’s new Supporting Institution status is a strategic decision, which will support the banking sector in South Africa to keep abreast of global thought-leadership in this field, while maintaining a unique focus on how these matters impact the banks in the South African context.

The Banking Association South Africa and UNEP FI look towards continuously building on the relationship established to date and leveraging this new status in the interests of pursuing mutually beneficial objectives in the area of sustainable finance in Africa.

For media enquiries or further information, please contact:

Geeda Haddad
Regional Coordinator, Africa and Middle East
UNEP Finance Initiative
T: +41 22 917 8148

Thenji Nhlapo
Media & Communications Officer
Managing Director’s Office
The Banking Association South Africa
Tel: +27 11 645 6729
Cell: +27 76 791 6918

Note to Editors
The Banking Association South Africa
The Banking Association South Africa is the mandated representative of the banking
sector. The role of The Banking Association is to facilitate the enablement of a conducive banking environment through robust engagement with government and relevant stakeholders. A critical role of The Banking Association is to work with its members to enable this role within the context of the transformation challenges prevailing in South Africa.
The Banking Association South Africa manages numerous committees that advise the Banking Association executive on issues pertinent to the sector. The executive of The Banking Association South Africa also leverages off the capacity of members of these committees, so as to bring optimal resources to bear on pertinent issues.
In addition to the committees, The Banking Association South Africa oversees several business forums, task groups and sub-committees, which are interim structures put in place to assist the committees in resolving a particular matter/issue at a given time.
It is the only African Banking Association that is a member of the International Banking Federation (IBFed) and the only African Banking Association to contribute to the International Institute of Bankers Global Survey of Regulatory and Market Developments.
For more on The Banking Association South Africa visit –

UNEP FI is a partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector created in the wake of the 1992 Earth Summit with a mission to promote sustainable finance. Over 200 financial institutions, including banks, insurers and fund managers, work with UNEP to understand today’s environmental challenges, why they matter to finance, and how to actively participate in addressing them.
This Finance Initiative has produced extensive research to reveal and explain the intersection between finance and the environment. It has also produced practical tools to raise awareness and to build capacity among practitioners. In recent years UNEP FI’s work has also included a strong focus on policy – by fomenting country-level dialogues between finance practitioners, regulators and policy-makers, including via processes such as the global climate negotiations.
For more on the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative visit –