Six Major American Banks Call For Strong COP21 Agreement

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Six major American banks (Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo) issued a joint statement calling for the world’s governments to create a strong agreement in Paris later this year. That’s when the world’s leaders will hammer out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

In the statement published by Ceres, the six major banks acknowledged that as “major financial institutions, working with clients and customers around the globe” they have the “business opportunity to build a more sustainable, low-carbon economy and the ability to help manage and mitigate these climate-related risks.” However, those activities are not “sufficient to meet global climate challenges,” they went on to declare. For that reason, they are calling for “leadership and cooperation among governments for commitments leading to a strong global climate agreement.”

“Financial institutions have a critical role to play in financing the transition to a low-carbon future,” said Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres and director of its $13 trillion Investor Network on Climate Risk, in a statement. “As U.S. negotiators enter climate talks in Paris, they can say with confidence that the business and financial community in this country is ready for government leadership to address climate change.”

What the six banks are doing to tackle climate change

Since climate change is a major business challenge that poses both risk and opportunities, banks will be affected by it. “Banks will be affected by climate change mostly indirectly to the extent that general economic activity is affected,” stated a 2009 UN analysis of climate strategy in over 100 banks worldwide.

All six of the major banks are already working to tackle climate change. Here’s a short overview of their efforts:

  • JP Morgan Chase has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of 2020. It has already met its 2012 target to reduce emissions by 20 percent.
  • Goldman Sachs has a goal of reducing GHG emissions to zero by 2020.
  • Bank of America is investing $125 billion in low-carbon business by 2025 through lending, investing, capital raising, advisory services and developing solutions for clients worldwide. Since 2007, it has provided over $39 billion in financing for low-carbon activities.
  • Citi committed to lending, investing and facilitating $100 billion from 2014 to 2023 in activities that reduce climate change impacts and creating environmental solutions.
  • Wells Fargo has provided over $52 billion in environmental finance since 2005.
  • Morgan Stanley is committed to engage with clients, regulators and policy makers to both establish and enhance strong climate policy globally.

Will world leaders listen to the six banks? Will they follow their lead in tackling climate change and reducing emissions? Stay tuned to find out!

Image credit: DncnH, Flickr

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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