Bankers for Net-Zero: Banks sign up to steer UK green recovery

Barclays and Triodos are amongst the first five banks to sign up to a new commitment exploring how the banking sector can fund the net-zero transition to deliver a green recovery in the UK.

Bankers for Net-Zero: Banks sign up to steer UK green recovery

The companies are now engaging with the Bank of England

Barclays and Triodos have been joined by Tide, Handelsbanken and the Ecology Building Society in becoming the first banks to sign up to a new Bankers for NetZero commitment. The initiative will see banks lead cross-sector discussions with businesses and policymakers to outline ways to de-risk the net-zero and unlock capital to assist with the green recovery.

Bankers for NetZero is being led by Volans – founded by John Elkington – the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fair Business Banking and consultants Re:Pattern.

Barclays has pledged to become a net-zero business by 2050, under new a new climate policy which covers both direct operations and finance allocated externally. Under the new collaborative initiative, the bank will now assist others in the net-zero transition.

Barclays’ chairman Nigel Higgins said: “With thanks to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, we support the objective of the Bankers for Net Zero initiative. As the first bank to set an ambition to be net-zero by 2050, Barclays takes seriously the notion that banks can, and should, play a leading role in tackling climate change.

“The transition to a low carbon economy is one of the most complex challenges we face, and it will require close collaboration between both the private and public sector to get there. We hope that Bankers for Net Zero can make a significant contribution to that goal.”

The companies are now engaging with the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Competition & Markets Authority on a set of recommendations and they are being supported by The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the UK’s Green Finance Institute.

Bankers for NetZero will release a white paper listing initial recommendations later this year.

Triodos Bank UK’s chief executive Bevis Watts said: “As a bank founded on the mission of protecting and promoting quality of life for all, we feel a responsibility to work with the wider banking sector to reinvent our industry, fit for the challenges we now face, and responsible for the impacts we have. That’s why we’re pleased to be part of the Bankers for Net Zero initiative.

“The true environmental and social impacts of our financial choices need to be fully embedded into our decision-making as an industry. It is possible for us to act on the climate crisis to be stronger, and more resilient, but only if we acknowledge the fundamental changes our banking system must make to better serve people and planet.”

Affordable transition

A report from RenewableUK has previously claimed that the nation’s net-zero target will spur rapid demand for green hydrogen while attracting more than £50bn to an already world-leading offshore wind sector.

study from independent, not-for-profit Energy Systems Catapult also states that reaching net-zero emissions in the UK by 2050 is possible but would require “unprecedented innovation across the economy” that could see electricity generation triple, hydrogen generation grow exponentially and land use to be radically overhauled across the country.

Crucially, the study found that net-zero emissions can be reached at a cost of just 1-2% of national GDP, which was first highlighted by the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCCs) net-zero recommendation report that influenced the Government’s net-zero decision.

Matt Mace

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