DBS Bank names new chief sustainability officer

Helge Muenkel joins the bank from Dutch multinational finance group ING. He replaces Mikkel Larsen.

Helge Muenkel
Helge Muenkel joins the bank from Dutch multinational finance group ING, where he was Asia Pacific head sustainable finance and global capital markets. He replaces Mikkel Larsen, who left the CSO role after 5 years to take on the job of chief executive of newly launched carbon credits marketplace Climate Impact X in November. Image: DBS

DBS Bank has appointed a new chief sustainability officer.

Helge Muenkel joins the bank from Dutch multinational finance group ING, where he was Asia Pacific head of sustainable finance and global capital markets.

He replaces Mikkel Larsen, who left the CSO role in November after 5 years to take on the job of chief executive of newly launched carbon credits marketplace, Climate Impact X. 

Muenkel helped to grow ING’s regional business of sustainability-related advisory services and sustainable finance transactions. He also led a working group that focussed on sustainability-related disclosures, which is backed by the 10 ministries of finance and capital markets regulators in the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN).

He previously worked for Italian UniCredit Group, in credit research and structured debt capital markets, and German Deutsche Bank, as an asset manager.

He holds a master’s degree in economics from Munich University, and has a postgraduate degree in sustainability from Cambridge.

In a statement, DBS CEO Piyush Gupta said that with 20 years of experience in sustainability and banking, Muenkel is “well-placed” to build on commitments the bank has made in the growing environmental, social and governance (ESG) space.

DBS has invested heavily in ESG and marketing its green credentials in recent years. The bank committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 in October, has signed up to responsible investing framework Equator Principles, and plans to build Singapore’s first net-zero building.

The bank has been under sustained pressure to stop funding coal plants in the region, and was among the financiers of the Jawa 9 & 10, a controversial coal power project in Indonesia that reached financial close in 2020. Last April, DBS committed to reduce its coal exposure to zero by 2039.

“The climate issue is an increasingly pressing one, and through sustainable finance, banks play a key role in enabling and catalysing 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,” added Gupta.

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