Policy Lever: Transforming Culture
Financial culture is the body of shared values, norms and biases that guide behaviour and decision-making at individual and organisational levels in financial institutions. Failures of this culture – in terms inappropriate risk-taking, ethical failures, and disregard for client obligations – were central to the global financial crisis. Encouraging a financial culture that supports sustainability is an essential complement to more specific policy, regulatory and fiscal measures. In the wake of the financial crisis significant changes were made to market, sector,and firm-level systems and controls on behaviour, stemming from macro-level reform packages, actions on markets infrastructure, regulation and supervisory guidance. In general however sustainability has not been a core focus.
ExamplesKey steps that could be taken to integrate sustainability into the culture of the financial sector include:
- Consumer education: Extending financial literacy programmes to include sustainability.
- Professional education: Building the skills and capabilities to assess sustainability risks and issues among financial professionals.
- Regulator capacity building: Improving the sustainability capabilities of financial regulators and policymakers.
- Remuneration regulation: Including sustainability in remuneration regulations – so that individual compensation relates to performance in terms of long-term sustainability.
- Codes of conduct: Incorporating environmental and sustainability in policies to promote integrity in financial markets and the upholding of core values.
- Non-financial guidance: Encouraging financial institutions to respect global standards of responsible conduct (such as Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
- Value-based financial institutions: Ensuring a level-playing field for values-based financial institutions (including cooperatives, impact investment etc.)
- Market diversity: Promoting diversity of financial institutions in terms of size, geographical focus, ownership and business model.
- Right sizing financial institutions: Taking action to “right size” financial institutions to deliver sustainability outcomes (e.g. consolidation and unbundling).
ImpactsTo date most reforms focused on the culture of the financial sector have not explicitly focused on sustainability, but there is potential for wide application. A robust financial culture focused on the needs of the real economy is a criticalprecondition for other efforts to align the financial system with sustainable development.
The Financial System We Need: From Momentum to TransformationDate: 29-Sep-2016
Download the policy summary: [AR] [CH] [EN] [ES] [FR] [PT] [RU] Download the individual chapters: Chapter 1: Mapping the momentum | Chapter 2: Harnessing financial technology for sustainable development | Chapter 3: Measuring performance | Chapter 4: Steps towards transformation Our follow-up annual report reveals a doubling in policy actions over the past five years to align the global financial system with sustainable