Karen Peetz

The Shifting Landscape of CSR Leadership

June 2016

“Collectively, our industry must promote a trusted, transparent financial ecosystem that delivers safety, soundness and value for all.” – Karen Peetz, President

There is a bold new paradigm evolving around CSR leadership that holds great power and potential.

In the past year, social and environmental issues have dominated the global arena in an unprecedented way. COP21 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, highlighted the increasingly urgent and complex nature of the challenges faced by our planet and its people. Climate change, large-scale migration, social instability and cybersecurity further amplify this call to action and are some of the most significant risks worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Risk Report.

Even more than the scale of these issues, I am impressed by a tremendous shift in approaches to addressing them. It is no longer the sole prerogative of NGOs, governments, civil society and philanthropists. The private sector has a pivotal role. Cross-sector collaboration is a valued and expected norm.

There’s never been a better time for this shift. Business is in a position to contribute leadership, a strong voice, deliver on its commitments and leverage its resources to provide solutions. We see it in action as business galvanizes around climate change and major brands take on social issues and inequalities in their communities.

We at BNY Mellon welcome that shift and call on our industry to step up and engage in CSR at a deeper level.

For several years, our corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy has focused on driving results in areas where we have the most potential to impact society. We’ve fostered a risk culture to protect the stability of financial markets, achieved net zero carbon emissions, collaborated with clients to advance workplace equality where all talented people have the opportunity to thrive — including women, LGBT individuals, people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, people with special needs and returning military — and touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of global citizens through our philanthropic efforts.

Our industry can lead the way. The global financial system is critical to driving economic growth and prosperity and to financing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. I believe that finding ways to improve the quality of life in developed and developing economies, while concurrently combatting climate change and natural resource depletion, is one of the greatest challenges and responsibilities of our era and our generation.

Helping financial services clients to better account for environmental and social risks in their investments can lead to responsible growth while limiting environmental degradation and social injustices in the world. Collectively, our industry must promote a trusted, transparent financial ecosystem system that delivers safety, soundness and value for all.

At BNY Mellon, we have made it our mission to improve lives through investing at every level of society. Now is the time to rise to the challenge and leverage the power of our business to effect positive change on an even greater scale – that’s the future of CSR leadership.

Karen Peetz

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