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ESG ranking of world’s biggest banks: BNP takes top spot, followed by standard chartered, citi and hSBC

Oil gas banking investments
London's Canary Wharf, the beating heart of the UK banking sector. Some banks are increasingly taking a different approach when it comes to oil and gas investments.

Banks are increasingly vying to establish their ESG credentials in a very competitive marketplace, in the wake of the COP26 climate talks and as they look to differentiate in the year ahead.

For the first time, the full list of banks identified in the global research undertaken by East & Partners is being published. 

The research included direct interviews with the top 100 revenue ranked corporates in each of eight countrie, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the USA.

The East & Partners report – Finding the Value in Green Banking – found that BNP Paribas came out top as the best perceived “Stand out” ESG/Sustainable Finance provider globally.

Best Perceived “Stand Out” ESG/Sustainable Finance Provider

% of Total

RankN: 752% of Total
2Standard Chartered9.3
7BAML/Bank of America5.7
11Bank of China2.1
14Goldman Sachs1.5
14Morgan Stanley1.5
19Société Generale1.2
21Commonwealth Bank of Australia1.1
22National Australia Bank0.9
25Credit Suisse0.8
Source: East & Partners

“Only one bank can be “best” in the eyes of business. When those eyes are the largest enterprises in the world, being “best” is even more important,” commented Martin Smith, East & Partners Global Head of Markets Analysis.

Smith told ESG Insight: “Out of the 30 individual providers nominated, BNP Paribas was highlighted as the best standout provider of sustainable/ESG finance across all products and services according to global treasurers. Relative to their peers, on a global scale they stood well above the pack.”

“Of greatest concern, or perhaps of greatest opportunity, is the very large one in ten portion of global treasurers who did not view any bank as being the best, stand out provider of ESG finance,” he continued.

“This cohort of treasurers and bank relationship gatekeepers are open to being won over should a provider come forward.”

Martin Smith, East & Partners

Global banks Standard Chartered, Citi, HSBC and JP Morgan rounded out the top five.

Rishi Bhattacharya, CEO of Impact & Influence, a communications consultancy which partnered with East & Partners on the research said: “Many banks are in a “place race” when it comes to showcasing their ESG credentials and expertise, through marketing and communications but also through their actions.”

“While not all providers are as enthusiastic about sustainable finance as others, it is likely to follow the same trajectory as digital and technology adoption which is now an expected component of the overall experience. Providers lacking ESG capabilities risk losing out on wallet share and market share if they are too slow to act,” Bhattacharya said.

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