Climate change top priority for banks, claims Lloyds Banking Group

Nearly twice as many UK financial services firms consider environmental sustainability and tackling climate change to be a top strategic priority compared to last year, according to a report from Lloyds Banking Group.

The figures are included in Lloyds’ sixth annual Financial Institutions Sentiment Survey, which gathers views from major banks, asset and wealth management firms, insurers, and intermediaries in London and across the UK.

It found that 59 per cent of UK financial institutions consider environmental sustainability and addressing climate change to be a key priority, compared to 33 per cent in 2020.

However, whether banks are taking action to address global warming has come into question after a report by responsible investment organisation ShareAction found that while 20 of Europe’s 25 largest banks have committed to net-zero emissions by 250, none of them have matched these long-term pledges with comprehensive plans to avert climate change. [link]

The watchdog said that only three banks - including Lloyds Bank and NatWest - have committed to halve their financed emissions by 2030 to ensure they are on track to meet their 2050 target.

According to the bank’s report, more than two fifths – 43 per cent – of British financial institutions plan to make their environmental sustainability goals more ambitious over the next 12 months. Nearly half -49 per cent - said the proximity of COP26 has increased their focus on environmental sustainability.

“We are at a crucial juncture in the fight to protect the planet from climate change,” said Adrian Walkling, head of financial services Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. “This year’s report shows financial institutions are not only committed to playing their part, but they also have a dual role to play in providing finance for sustainability or investing in it, as well as their own operations.

“An unprecedented amount of low-carbon financing must be deployed across every sector of the economy if the UK is to achieve its net-zero target by 2050. Firms are increasing their efforts to deliver against this requirement, while working to reduce their own carbon footprints.”

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