Green guide for UK financial services sector

Voluntary environmental management, reporting, guidelines drawn up by banking association

Guidelines aimed at increasing the number of British financial institutions using environmental management systems and issuing annual environmental reports were unveiled on Thursday. The initiative could form the foundation for international standards in the sector, according to its developer, the British Bankers Association (BBA).

The BBA is to monitor uptake of the guidelines, which are nevertheless voluntary. UK environment minister Michael Meacher is likely to be interested in the results, having singled out the financial sector as having been slow to take on the environmental agenda. Mr Meacher has regularly emphasised the importance of environmental reporting and has threatened to make it compulsory for large firms (ENDS Daily 2 March).

In addition to providing companies with step-by-step instructions for introducing environmental management systems and reporting, the guidelines identify "common areas of difficulty" which include "setting meaningful targets," assessing the value of "intangible benefits" such as improvements in brand reputation, and delivering annual environmental reports of a high standard.

Follow Up:
BBA, tel: +44 20 72 16 88 00, guidelines.

Correction: 7/12/00 Here we reported that guidelines for environmental management and reporting by financial services companies had been developed by the British Bankers Association (BBA). In fact, they were developed by an independent coalition of bankers and insurers called the Forge group. BBA's involvement has been to assist in distributing the guidelines.

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