Ecology Building Society has become one of the founding signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking.
The global initiative is for banks committing to align their businesses with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Ecology specialises in providing environmental lending for properties and projects as well as supporting sustainable communities and is the first building society to sign the principles.
Paul Ellis, chief executive at Ecology Building Society, said: “Given the scale of the climate and ecological crisis, we need finance that serves people and planet.
“The principles have the potential to drive systemic change, ensuring that the purpose of banking extends beyond profit to creating positive social and environmental impacts.
“Signing up to the principles wasn’t a difficult decision for Ecology as we’ve been acting as pioneers of environmental finance since we were established.
“We’re proud to support these concerted efforts to build a sustainable future.”
By signing the Principles for Responsible Banking, Ecology joins a coalition of 130 banking providers worldwide in committing to taking on a crucial role in helping to achieve a sustainable future.
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, commented: “The UN Principles for Responsible Banking are a guide for the global banking industry to respond to, drive and benefit from a sustainable development economy.
“The principles create the accountability that can realise responsibility, and the ambition that can drive action.”
Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), added: “A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, it can benefit from it.
“When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as solution, everybody wins in the long-term.”
Gatehouse Bank has also become a founding signatory.
Charles Haresnape, chief executive at Gatehouse Bank, said: “We are proud to be the only UK Shariah-compliant Bank to become a founding signatory of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking.
“Gatehouse Bank is a growing force in UK banking and is committed to having a positive impact on the communities we serve.
“The Principles for Responsible Banking fit with the bank’s ethical approach to finance and more importantly, will enable us to continuously review and develop our approach as a responsible provider.”