The Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials: an influential Dutch export

50 banks have committed to disclosing carbon emissions as part of Dutch Central Bank's "Partnership for Carbon Account Financials"

During Climate Week NYC (Sept 24-30), 50 banks committed to measure and disclose the carbon emissions of their loans and investments as part of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). 

PCAF is the first project incubated by the Dutch central bank DNB’s Platform for Sustainable Finance to go international. 

In 2016, the DNB started to convene Dutch financial sector actors to work on sustainability. 

The Platform for Sustainable Finance, which meets twice a year, includes the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and the trade association of Dutch banks, insurers, pension funds and asset managers, the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), think tank Sustainable Finance Lab, and Invest-NL, a new Dutch public investment bank. 

Financial institutions are represented by their relevant associations, but they can set-up working groups, comprising their peers, to feed into its work. 

The Netherland's Sustainable Finance Platform meets regularly to discuss topics such as climate risks, sustainable education, SDG impact assesment, carbon pricing, and biodiversity.

When the Platform started, ASN Bank set up a working group to build out the domestic version of PCAF. The Climate Week international launch of PCAF took it to over 50 institutions with $2.9trn in assets, including 8 US banks.

Back in the Netherlands, the Sustainable Finance’s Platform has eight working groups, which meet on a regular basis. 

Topics include climate risks, sustainable education, SDG impact assessment, sustainable housing, carbon pricing and biodiversity – the latter two being recent additions that started in April this year. 

Nederlandse Waterschapsbank N.V. (NWB Bank), a public bank set up in the 1950s to finance the country’s water system, leads the biodiversity stream. 

The biodiversity working group is still in set-up phase and reflects growing awareness in the finance sector that biodiversity, like climate, is a material financial issue. 

The working group wants to deliver results by next year: 2020 is the last year of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity action plan. 

Another new working group, chaired by Rabobank, focuses on C02 pricing. In June, the Dutch government proposed a minimum price for CO2 emissions from 2020 to supplement the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). 

DNB has already done research on the subject, as it has on biodiversity

The PCAF working group has had international influence. A working group on climate risks, chaired by MN, acted as a Dutch sector-wide response to the TCFD public consultation. 

A sustainability education working group, chaired by APG, set up an executive education course at the well-regarded Nyenrode Business University. 

An SDG Impact Assessment Framework working group, chaired by PGGM, has published a framework and a working group on communication about sustainability, chaired by Dutch insurer ASR, which plans to deliver a strategy piece and also work as a consultancy for the Platform’s other working groups. 


Full list of the working groups and members of the Platform for Sustainable Finance:

 Working Group 1, Climate Risks:

  • Chair: MN
  • Other members: ABN AMRO, APG, ASN, ING, Kempen, PGGM, Rabobank, Robeco.

 Working Group 2, Communication about Sustainability:

  • Chair: ASR
  • Other members: NN Group, ABP, TKP Pensioen, BNG Bank, ING, ABN AMRO, DNB.

Working Group 3, Sustainability Education:

  • Chair: APG
  • Other members: ABN AMRO, Achmea, AEGON, MN, Het Groene Brein.

Working Group 4, SDG Impact Assessment

  • Chair: PGGM
  • Other members: APG, MN, ACTIAM, PGGM, Robeco, Kempen, TKP, NN Group, Unilever Pensioenfonds, ASR, Triodos Bank, ASN Bank, Rabobank, FMO, Achmea IM, Unilever, Philips, ING Bank, ABN Amro, De Nederlandsche Bank, DSM.

Working Group 5, PCAF

  • Chair: ASN Bank
  • Other members: ABN AMRO, Achmea, Actiam, MN, PME, PMT, Triodos, De Volksbank, FMO, ASR, Rabobank, Robeco en Van Lanschot Kempen, NWB and BNG.

Working Group 6, Sustainable Real Estate (housing)

  • Chairs: AEGON and ING
  • Other members: ABN AMRO, Rabobank, ASR.

Working Group 7, Biodiversity

  • Chair: NWB Bank
  • Other members: ASN, Rabobank, FMO, ASR, Actiam, Rabobank, APG, RVO, Platform for Sustainable Value Creation.

Working Group 8, CO2 Pricing

  • Chair: Rabobank
  • Other members: ABN AMRO, ING, Triodos Bank, Volksbank.