"Over 450 of the world’s banks have committed to a new initiative at the COP26
UN Climate Change Conference which is designed to decarbonise their
investments. Overseen by former Bank of England supremo Mark Carney, the banks
and other financial institutions signing up to Gfanz (the Glasgow Financial
Alliance for Net Zero) are pledging to report annually on the carbon emissions
linked to the projects they lend to.
They are also aiming to provide trillions of dollars in green finance, while
committing to net zero emissions across the board by 2050. Major signatories to
the initiative, which was originally unveiled in April, include Citi, Morgan
Stanley and Bank of America.
While it’s very encouraging to see many of the world’s leading banks committing
to sustainable lending, it’s hard not to feel apprehensive. It certainly isn’t
the first opportunity that they have had to decarbonise their loan books, and
so far the results have not been impressive.
In 2019, the UN General Assembly exuberantly launched its principles of
responsible banking (PRBs) with similar goals in mind. The banks that signed up
agreed, among other things, to “work with their clients to encourage
sustainable practices” and to “align their business strategy” to the UN
sustainable development goals and the Paris climate agreement.
So far, many of the biggest banks in the world have not signed the PRBs, even
though the principles have been the gold standard until now for committing to
decarbonising lending. Leading signatories are also a long way from satisfying
their requirements – not to mention those of Gfanz."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics