We see responsible finance as the offering of financial products and services in an accountable, transparent, ethical and sustainable way. In this context, responsible finance can mean protecting customers and treating them fairly; increasing access to finance; having effective ethics and compliance programmes; contributing to open and stable financial markets; or incorporating ESG considerations in lending activities. Given the breadth of responsible finance as a topic, it is very challenging to illustrate the impact of our holdings across all areas. For the purposes of this report we decided to focus on financial inclusion, an area with clear links to poverty alleviation and where impact measurement, while still nascent, is relatively more advanced.
We share the belief that financial inclusion is one of the most important factors in ending global poverty. Increasingly, evidence shows that providing people with the ability to save and borrow efficiently and securely can improve well-being, gender equality and household consumption, and encourage enterprise.
Whilst great strides have been made towards achieving financial inclusion, approximately 1.7 billion adults worldwide, most of them in Asia, remain unbanked1