Sustainable banking winners

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Well, the waiting is almost over. That's right, the winners of the first annual sustainable banking awards will be announced tonight in London. And who better to explain what that means than our own Sam Eaton, from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.

SAM EATON: The awards ceremony, put on by the Financial Times, recognizes banks that have integrated social, environmental and corporate governance objectives into their lending and investment practices.

The short list of winners includes banking giants the likes of HSBC and ABN Amro as well as some lesser-knowns like Yes Bank of India.

Rachel Kyte is with the International Finance Corporation, the private arm of the World Bank. She says the sustainability buzz in banking isn't about image, it's about profits. In other words companies that don't create environmental catastrophes tend to outperform those that do.

RACHEL KYTE: You can show that companies that manage these risks do better over the long term, so there's a real financial evidence for this, which is why so many are moving in this direction.

The Financial Times says there's still much progress to be made in sustainable banking. But the hope is that the awards will encourage further innovation.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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