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DBS names new chief sustainability officer
Helge Muenkel to steer bank’s efforts in unlocking greater ESG impact across the region
The Asset 24 Jan 2022

DBS Group Holdings has appointed Helge Muenkel as chief sustainability officer, with effect from January 24. He succeeds Mikkel Larsen, who transitioned into his role as chief executive officer at Climate Impact X, a joint venture of DBS, Singapore Exchange, Standard Chartered Bank and Temasek, in November 2021.

Muenkel (pictured) joins DBS from ING, where he worked for 10 years and was most recently head of Asia-Pacific, sustainable finance and global capital markets. In this role, he grew the bank's regional business of sustainability-related advisory services and sustainable finance transactions across products. He was also part of ING’s global sustainable finance and capital markets management teams as well as the bank’s global sustainable finance quality board. Prior to ING, he spent more than 12 years in various roles at Deutsche Bank and UniCredit Group, based in different cities across Europe, the United States and Asia-Pacific.

DBS Bank CEO Piyush Gupta says: “The climate issue is an increasingly pressing one, and through sustainable finance, banks play a key role in enabling and catalyzing impact. DBS, for one, has committed to being net zero by 2050. At the same time, the problem of social inequality has also surfaced during the pandemic as deserving serious attention, and the bank continues to intensify efforts to support small businesses and communities. With more than 20 years of experience in sustainability and banking, Muenkel is well-placed to build on commitments we have made and steer DBS’ efforts to unlock greater ESG impact across the region.”

An active sustainability advocate, Muenkel led the working group on sustainability-related disclosures in an industry advisory panel (IAP) which is sponsored by and supports the 10 Asean finance ministries and capital markets regulators. The IAP aims to create a sustainable finance ecosystem across member states in the region. He also regularly engages with sustainability-focused groups such as the International Capital Market Association and the Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association.

Muenkel holds a master’s degree in economics from Munich University with a major in development economics. He also has a postgraduate degree in sustainability from Cambridge University and is a chartered financial analyst.

To support businesses in their sustainability transitions, DBS has committed to finance S$50 billion (US$37.18 billion) in renewable, clean-energy and green projects by 2024. It is also boasts being the first Singaporean bank to offer transition financing and launching the world’s first sustainable and transition finance framework and taxonomy in 2020.

According to DBS, it is also the first Singaporean bank to become a signatory to the United Nations-convened, industry-led Net-Zero Banking Alliance, committing to transition operational and attributable greenhouse gas emissions from its lending and investment portfolios to align with pathways to net zero by 2050 or sooner. The bank is also a key member of Banking for Impact, a leading global consortium which aims to propose new social, environmental impact-reporting rules for banks.

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