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Developing a framework for assessing sustainable banking performance of the Indian banking sector

Kishore Kumar (Department of Business Administration, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Ajai Prakash (Department of Business Administration, University of Lucknow, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 28 November 2018

Issue publication date: 5 August 2019




Sustainable development has now been recognised as the pivot around which development activities should revolve. Banking is an important component in the same and adoption of sustainable banking practices by various banking institutions is a strong driver to achieve sustainable development. The purpose of this paper is to study the level of adoption of sustainable banking tools and the extent to which banking institutions practice the same in India. In addition, the banking institutions have been ranked and categorised on basis of their sustainable banking performance.


The proposed framework focuses on the environmental and social conduct of the banks, who address the issues of sustainability in Indian banking sector. As there is a difference in the economic standards of developed and developing countries, the review of literature helps to figure out the gap in specific frameworks for assessing sustainable banking practices in developing countries. Previous researchers have made an attempt to develop a general framework for assessing the sustainable banking efforts of the banking sector. These studies fall short of indicators on the social dimension of sustainability specifically in the context of less developed countries like India, the social dimensions are is equally a major thrust area along with environmental indicators. Content analysis technique has been used to evaluate sustainable banking performance of the banks and Mann–Whitney U test used to determine the differences in sustainable banking performance of the banks in India.


In Indian banking sector, the adoption of the international sustainability code of conduct is still in its nascent stage. The research indicates that sustainability issues which are of the highest priority for the banks are directly related to their business operations such as financial inclusion, financial literacy and energy efficiency, and banks are more focussed on addressing social dimension of sustainability in banking rather than important dimensions of sustainable banking, namely, environmental management, development of green products and services and sustainability reporting.

Practical implications

The application of the proposed framework reflects the status quo of sustainable banking in India. This study is useful for the banks and all the stakeholders in understanding more about the shortcomings in integrating sustainability issues in banking. Further, the present study also redresses the extant research dearth in the field of sustainable banking in the Indian context.


This is one of the first studies evaluating the sustainable banking performance of the Indian banking sector.



Kumar, K. and Prakash, A. (2019), "Developing a framework for assessing sustainable banking performance of the Indian banking sector", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 15 No. 5, pp. 689-709.



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