04 December 2008

Global banking giants sign up to climate principles

Tom Young, BusinessGreen, 01 Dec 2008

HSBC building

Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Munich Re, Standard Chartered and Swiss Re first firms to sign up to standards that could see them refuse financing to projects that fail to disclose carbon emissions

Carbon intensive projects could be forced to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and adopt the cleanest technologies available, if they wish to secure financial backing from some of the world's largest financial institutions.

The move follows Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Munich Re, Standard Chartered and Swiss Re signing up to a new set of green investment best practices.

The banks and insurers have today pledged to adhere to The Climate Principles, which have been developed by The Climate Group and will require financial institutions to consider the carbon impact of their investment decisions and services.

Under the principles, firms financing capital projects will request that clients disclose project greenhouse gas emissions and seek reduction and offset solutions wherever possible.

Investment banks will also agree to bolster their ability to offer financing to low-carbon technologies, while insurance firms will advise on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The banks have also agreed to build up their expertise to support trading in emissions, weather derivatives, renewable energy credits and other climate related commodities.

While the principles are voluntary, those companies signing up to them will be required to report annually to a steering committee on their compliance with the standards.

Steve Howard, chief executive of The Climate Group, said that the group would be looking for more banks to join the initiative.

"A rising tide lifts all boats, which is why we have decided to launch a global framework that will unify the response of a sector that is vital to accelerating action on climate change," he said.

The principles were welcomed by Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Report, who said that the standards should help harness the power of financial institutions to tackle climate change.

"The Climate Principles will assist global financial institutions to reduce their climate risk, whether it is physical, regulatory, market or reputational, and to help their customers prosper from new investment opportunities and sources of growth, which will drive the transition to a low-carbon economy," he said.

Swiss Re's chief risk officer, Raj Singh, agreed there was a strong commercial case for adhering to the principles, arguing that better assessment of climate risks would help the company develop new products and services while also supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.

© Incisive Media Ltd. 2008

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1 comment:

Ron Robins said...

This is a good step forward and goes beyond The Equator Principles that most large banks subscribe too.
For anyone interested in green investing, I have one of the most popular sites on the web on the subject. It also covers the latest related global news and research too. It's at www.investingforthesoul.com

Best wishes, Ron Robins