Big four Australian banks commit to contribute to green credentials

By @pathakmishra on
People walk out of a Commonwealth Bank of Australia branch in Sydney, Australia, August 12, 2015.
People walk out of a Commonwealth Bank of Australia branch in Sydney, Australia, August 12, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Four major Australian banks, namely, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB, have taken their foot forward to contribute to the environment by encouraging their climate credentials.

The input from the banks is a major step taken prior to the meeting of world leaders in Paris later in November regarding the formulation of new agreement on climate change. The lenders have committed to cut emissions by deliberating their contribution to the energy sector.

“The indications are that they take this issue really seriously and they are looking to implement plans to build on the commitments they have made,” the ABC quoted Australian campaigns director Charlie Wood as saying. “Pressure will need to continue to build to make sure that they do deliver on that.”

All of the four banks said in their statements that they commit to policies that limit the temperature rise up to 2 degree Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Through this, the lender would invest in the energy projects that might exceed the minimum limit, endangering the environment.

In the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, the CBA committed to disclose its lending to the energy projects first and gradually move all its other project funding. NAB unveiled the portion of its mining sector funding is allocated to the fossil fuels.

Westpac has also disclosed how much of its lending to the mining industry goes to fossil fuels, as well as revealed the carbon emissions intensity of its infrastructure projects. ANZ revealed its carbon emissions intensity for the funds it offers to power generating units.

“It is good to see major financial institutions starting to align with the science, but we hope that they will go further than that,” Woods said. As per the estimates on four major banks’ funding obtained from environment group Market Forces, the amount they offer to fossil fuel projects accounts to $36 billion.

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