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The debate about sustainable finance focuses mostly on responsible investment. Considerably less attention tends to be paid to the direct relationships between banks and their corporate clients. Some of these clients are associated with controversial business practices, sectors, projects, and/or countries that, in turn, are associated with detrimental environmental and social impacts. In the context of this article, environmental and social (E&S) risks are those risks that occur when investment banks engage with such clients. This article discusses five factors that put pressure on banks to address E&S risks more systematically. It makes the case that E&S issues harbour considerable potential for damage in the here and now and that investment banks take a risk if they underestimate them.
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Clarke, T., & Klettner, A. (2007). Tip of the Iceberg? Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability: the new business imperatives? Financial Services Institute of Australasia (Finsia): Sidney.
ECOFACT AG (2013, December). The briefing for E&S risk experts. The ECOFACT Quarterly, (7)
Kytle, B., & Ruggie, J. G. (2005). Corporate social responsibility as risk management—A model for multinationals (Working Paper No. 10). Cambridge, MA: Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, Harvard University: John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Sherman, J. F. I., & Lehr, A. (2010). Human rights due diligence: Is it too risky? (Working Paper No. 55). Cambridge MA: Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative. Harvard University: John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- The Case for Environmental and Social Risk Management in Investment Banking
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