Ethical bank Triodos has set a target to reach net zero by 2035.
And the bank, whose UK headquarters in Bristol, is urging other challenger banks to follow suit.
In an announcement timed to coincide with the opening of the COP26 climate conference, the bank said the greenhouse gas emissions of all its loans and funds’ investments will be greatly reduced over the next 14 years.
The remaining emissions will be balanced or ‘inset’ by investing considerably in nature projects that remove greenhouse gases from the air.
Its portfolio will be aligned with a maximum global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“The climate emergency is increasingly affecting people’s lives and impacting nature: wildfires, heat waves, heavy flooding, the loss of biodiversity – concrete proof of the need to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions, well before 2050,” said CEO Jeroen Rijpkema.
“We are in the decisive decade. That is why Triodos Bank has set the high ambition to be net zero by 2035.”
Bevis Watts, chief executive of Triodos Bank UK added: “In setting out a target by 2035 we are challenging the financial sector.
“As a bank that has led the way on carbon disclosure and already has a low carbon emitting portfolio – we already know our starting point and can see the realities of how difficult achieving net zero will be.
“We need to see much faster action by the financial sector with disclosure of current emissions, targets and transition plans verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative and regulation mandating this.
“The financial sector has to lead the economic transition to net zero and ensure everyone is included in a just transition.”
Ways in which Triodos aims to reach net zero include:
- Supporting mortgage customers that make up 21 percent of its portfolio to make their homes more energy efficient
- Financing the new green energy infrastructure – generation, storage, green jobs and a path to a fully sustainable renewable energy sector.
- Aiming that all its investments – listed, private debt and equity – reduce carbon intensity to achieve net-zero in 2035
- Supporting new natural capital, nature-focused finance and regenerative organic agriculture, sequestering carbon and supporting biodiversity
In 2020 alone, Triodos Bank and its investment funds financed renewable energy projects and energy saving projects that avoided the equivalent emissions of over 5.7 billion kilometres travelled by car.
Triodos Bank also finances forestry and nature development projects. This resulted in the sequestration of approximately 14 ktonne CO2 eq., equal to at least 316,000 mature trees and enough to compensate the emissions from the farming sector financed by Triodos Bank.
And it was one of the first banks in the world to produce an environmental report and continues to limit its own environmental footprint and the emissions generated by the bank itself from energy consumption and business travel. It registers its footprint in a CO2 management system and compensates for it fully in Gold Standard carbon-offset projects.