Banking giants unite with Prince of Wales on financial net-zero taskforce

The Prince of Wales' Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) has announced that executives from the likes of Bank of America, BNP Paribas, NatWest and Lloyds have joined on as members of a new Financial Services Task Force aiming to create a net-zero investor sector.

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Banking giants unite with Prince of Wales on financial net-zero taskforce

The “Terra Carta” outlines ten areas of action for businesses looking to respond to the scale of the interconnected climate and nature crises 

The Financial Services Task Force (FSTF) will include executives from HSBC, BNP Paribas, Barclays, NatWest, Bank of America and more to help steer the investor community towards the net-zero trajectory in the build-up to COP26.

Members of the Task Force will develop pathways that will help banks achieve net-zero emissions, with supports such as Bank of America and BNP Paribas already working towards ambitious climate commitments.

In a statement confirming the development of the Taskforce, HRH The Prince of Wales said: “In launching the Sustainable Markets Initiative last year, my aim was to convene global leaders, as part of a ‘Coalition of the Willing’, from across industries and almost every sector of the economy.

“The Financial Services sector has a vital role to play as a catalyst and driver for change across other industries. I am delighted that the Financial Services Task Force has come together under the SMI umbrella to identify ways to set our planet on a fundamentally more sustainable trajectory.”

The statement also added that the Taskforce would build on the work of the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, by supporting the creation of a “deep and liquid global market for carbon credits” that ensures the flow of capital heads towards efforts to reduce emissions.

In January, Prince Charles called on businesses to “accelerate and mainstream sustainability”, by signing a new charter on the green recovery.

Developed after the prince’s call for a “marshall-like plan for nature, people and planet” at Climate Week NYC in September 2020, the so-called “Terra Carta” outlines ten areas of action for businesses looking to respond to the scale of the interconnected climate and nature crises and to shape a green recovery from the economic fallout of Covid-19.

By signing the charter, businesses formally recognise that 2050 is the absolute cut-off point for setting net-zero targets and commit to going further and faster if possible. More broadly, they commit to recognising the interdependency of all ecosystems and of individual, community, economic and planetary health – and taking a holistic approach, rather than working in silos.

It was confirmed then that the Prince’s Sustainable Markets Initiative would host the charter and had created a Natural Capital Investment alliance targeting $10bn by 2022. The alliance will work with the private sector and public sector actors as well as philanthropists.

Among the first corporate signatories of the charter are AstraZeneca, Refinitiv, Heathrow Airport, EY, BP, Signify, Drax Group and Compass Group. From the financial sector, it has received the support of BlackRock, Fidelity International, the Bank of America, Freuds and Schroders. Cleantech startups are also represented, with backers including Polymateria, CCM Technologies and Lanzatech.

Chairman of the FSTF and HSBC’s chief executive Noel Quinn added: “Climate change is bigger than any institution or industry. In coming together, we recognise the critical role our organisations play in the fight against it. The Financial Services Task Force is committed to accelerating efforts within the banking sector, recognising its catalytic role across all industries, to move towards a net-zero economy.”

Matt Mace

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