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Daily ESG Briefing: Natwest makes further moves on climate

The latest developments in sustainable finance

UK bank Natwest says it will disclose the climate impacts of its financing, and has pledged to slash such impacts by 50% over the next decade. The bank has also become the latest to join Dutch carbon account initiative PCAF, and named Lord Nicholas Stern – author of the iconic Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change – as an independent climate advisor this month.   

BHP, Woodside, BlueScope Steel, BP Australia, Orica, APA Group, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group and Wesfarmers have signed up to the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative, backed by CSIRO and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. All eight industrial companies, which represent around 14% of the country’s industrial emissions, have already made net zero by 2050 pledges.

FTSE Russell has published its 2020 country climate risk scores for the 22 developed economies in the FTSE Climate Risk-Adjusted World Government Bond Index. Austria saw a 39.5% decline in its score from 2019 to 2020, from 0.43 to 0.26. Other countries to see a decline in scores, which are based on climate transition risks, were Finland – down from 0.72 to 0.46 (-36%) – and Italy, which fell from o.64 to 0.56 (-12.5%). The physical risk component of the assessment “remained largely static”, said FTSE.

Deutsche Bank has said it will no longer fund new oil and gas drilling or exploration in the Arctic. The move comes as the bank revised its energy policy yesterday, also excluding financing for tar sands and certain fracking projects. There are now more than two dozen banks in the world that have ruled out financing Arctic drilling, including Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi and Morgan Stanley, according to environmental group Sierra Club.

Poland’s Environment Minister, Michal Wos, has called on the country’s government to withdraw from the EU carbon markets and form its own, national system. According to reports, Wos told the audience at a conference on the impact of the EU Green Deal on the Polish economy that the scheme should be similar to the EU emissions trading system (ETS), but allow Warsaw to control its allowance levels.