It’s through their loan books and investment portfolios that banks and asset managers make their biggest contribution to climate change.
The greenhouse gas emissions associated with financial institutions’ investing, lending and underwriting activities are more than 700 times higher, on average, than their direct emissions, according to a report published Wednesday by climate nonprofit CDP. While banks generate emissions from heating their buildings and flying executives to meetings — when pandemic restrictions allow — “almost all climate-related impacts and risks of global financial institutions come from financing the wider economy,” CDP said in a statement.
Wall Street dollars can either be an enabler for polluting industries, providing the world’s biggest emitters with funding for extraction and drilling, or a powerful lever used to push companies to cut emissions and prepare for a low-carbon future. Several major banks, including Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc and Morgan Stanley, have committed in the past year to measuring and reporting the carbon emissions resulting from their lending and investments. [Continue reading…]