Launched today UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance

To deliver the Paris Agreement and achieve global net zero the whole financial system needs to transition its activities by 2050 at the latest.

Mark Carney, the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance – in partnership with the UK COP26 Presidency and the UN Race to Zero campaign – are launching a coordinating alliance that brings together existing and new net zero finance initiatives into one sector-wide strategic forum: The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ).

At this ‘US Climate Action Week’ event on the 21st of April, political and finance leaders discussed how this new alliance will act as the global net zero strategic coordination mechanism for the whole financial sector.  Ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow, its goal is to broaden, deepen and raise the ambition of the financial sector to achieve the Paris Agreement.

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “Uniting the world’s banks and financial institutions behind the global transition to net zero is crucial to unlocking the finance we need to get there – from backing pioneering firms and new technologies to building resilient economies around the world. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero will lead this charge ahead of COP26 to scale-up our ambition, accelerate our shift and help us to build back greener together.”

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said: “The largest financial players in the world recognize energy transition represents a vast commercial opportunity as well as a planetary imperative. As countries around the world move to decarbonize, the large sums these institutions are dedicating to climate solutions reflect a growing understanding that the transition to a low-carbon global economy will be critical for their business models. To be credible and effective as market signals, these financial commitments should adhere to clear definitions, metrics, and reporting. Ultimately, the transition to this new economy will create a massive number of new jobs and increase our collective ability to tackle climate change.”

COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma, said: "Without adequate finance, we simply will not achieve the change needed to safeguard our planet for future generations. As the world continues down a crucial decade of delivery on climate action, GFANZ will ensure much-needed acceleration towards net zero by uniting some of the world's most powerful financial actors. I look forward to seeing this new alliance drive up ambition as we look to COP26 and beyond."

Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and Prime Minister Johnson’s Climate Finance Advisor for COP26, said: “This is the breakthrough in mainstreaming climate finance the world needs. I welcome the leadership of the SMI Financial Services Task Force and other global banks for their new commitments to net zero and for joining forces with GFANZ, the gold standard for net zero commitments in the financial sector.  Most fundamentally, GFANZ will act as the strategic forum to ensure the financial system works together to broaden, deepen, and accelerate the transition to a net zero economy.”

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme said: “In a critical year for climate and nature, these alliances speak to the high level of commitment and ambition that the world urgently requires from the financial sector. The end goal is a net-zero transition of the economy in line with science. Nothing less. Immediate, transparent and accountable actions underpin these commitments, and we encourage all financial institutions to follow their peers in committing to achieving the drastic reduction of emissions required over the next decade if we are to succeed in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.”

Nigel Topping, High-Level Climate Champion for COP26, said: “Already, a fundamental shift in capital is accelerating, with the world’s largest asset owners and managers – and now banks – joining the Race to Zero.  But the finance gap remains in the trillions of dollars, particularly for developing economies, and concerted efforts are needed to translate necessary solutions into investable propositions, which is why I am delighted to be collaborating on GFANZ.”

Brian Moynihan, Co-Chair of the SMI and Chairman and Chief Executive of Bank of America, said: “This commitment to net-zero by the SMI financial services leaders is an example of the leadership that the CEOs of SMI companies can generate by working together.  We will work closely with CEOs from other industry groups and others to continue to drive the other SMI priorities established by His Royal Highness in the Terra Carta earlier this year.”

Noel Quinn, Chair of SMI Financial Sector Taskforce and Group Chief Executive of HSBC, said: “A commitment to financing the transition to net zero is essential. It’s important that the banking sector is committed to providing the financial support needed to help customers on that transition. But we have to establish a robust and transparent framework for monitoring progress against that objective and we want to set that standard for the banking industry. Industry-wide collaboration is essential in achieving that goal. I’m delighted that banks from the SMI Financial Services Taskforce have joined forces to establish the Net Zero Banking Alliance.”

Ana Botin, Group Executive Chairman, Banco Santander, said: “If we are to green the world’s economy, we need a truly global effort - banks, companies, governments, regulators and civil society working together at pace. At Santander we are proud to be part of the founding members of this new alliance, and to accelerate progress towards net zero.”

Already, a fundamental shift in capital is accelerating as the world’s largest asset owners and managers, controlling over USD$30 trillion, join the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign. But the finance gap still remains in the trillions of dollars, supply of capital to drive this transformation remains uneven across sectors, and concerted efforts are needed to translate necessary solutions into investable propositions.

The industry-led, UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance brings together 43 banks from 23 countries with US$28.5 trillion in assets, which are committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050. Combining near-term action with accountability, this ambitious commitment sees banks setting an intermediate target for 2030 or sooner, using robust, science-based guidelines.

The Alliance will reinforce, accelerate and support the implementation of decarbonisation strategies, providing an internationally coherent framework and guidelines in which to operate, supported by peer-learning from pioneering banks. It recognises the vital role of banks in supporting the global transition of the real economy to net-zero emissions.

Launched on the 21st April 2021, the Alliance is joining the UN Race to Zero and is the banking element of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero. The Alliance is convened by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative and was co-launched by the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative Financial Services Taskforce.

THE COMMITMENT STATEMENT

Commit to transitioning its investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, taking into account the best available scientific knowledge including the findings of the IPCC, and regularly reporting on progress, including establishing intermediate targets every five years in line with the Paris Agreement Article 4.9.

In order to meet our fiduciary duty to manage risks and achieve target investment returns this Commitment must be embedded in a holistic ESG approach to managing sustainability considerations, incorporating but not limited to climate change, and must emphasise GHG emissions reduction outcomes in the real economy.

Seek to reach this Commitment, especially through advocating for, and engaging on, corporate and industry action, as well as public policies, for a low-carbon transition of economic sectors in line with science and under consideration of associated social impacts.

This Commitment is made in the expectation that governments will follow through on their own commitments to ensure the objectives of the Paris Agreement are met.

Download the Commitment Statement

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