Asian banks ‘fall short’ of decarbonization efforts – study

A villager walks past a coal-fired power station on the outskirts of Datong, Shanxi province November 20, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Lee

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SHANGHAI, March 23 (Reuters) – Asian banks are “failing” to meet global commitments to tackle climate change and align with their countries’ decarbonization targets, according to a study released on Wednesday.

Nearly 200 countries signed a pact in Glasgow last year calling on banks and financial institutions around the world to mobilize more finance to help achieve global climate goals and seek innovative ways to pay for adaptation to climate change. climate change.

But a review of 32 banks in East and Southeast Asia showed that none had made clear commitments or adequate implementation plans to meet the Paris Agreement targets. climate, according to Asia Research & Engagement (ARE), a Singapore-based environmental group.

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“Asian banks are failing to align with national decarbonization policies and are not yet taking the necessary steps to achieve global climate goals,” ARE said.

Banks have been quick to launch green financial products, but they have lagged in cleaning up their existing products and implementing the policies needed to divert capital from carbon-intensive industries, a- he declared.

“This raises concerns about greenwashing: that banks seek marketing advantage for sustainable finance deals while providing higher levels of finance to dirty industries,” the report said.

Of the 32 banks in major economies such as China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia, only nine had net long-term commitments for the issues they finance, while only 13 had policies prohibiting the financing of new coal-fired power plants.

The highest-ranked Asian bank was DBS Group (DBSM.SI) in Singapore, which has set a long-term net-zero goal but has not yet established clear short- and medium-term plans, and also had some number of shortcomings in its funding policies.

DBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Five banks received the lowest rating because they had “just started” their journey towards climate change preparedness, including China Bank of Ningbo (002142.SZ), Ping An Bank (000001.SZ) and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB)(600000.SS).

SPDB said in an emailed statement that it would “fully serve” all elements of the carbon-neutral industrial chain and support sectors such as green manufacturing and new energy vehicles, adding that green development was part of of its “corporate DNA”.

Bank of Ningbo declined to comment, and Ping An did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ARE said banks need to establish clear climate policies aligned with national goals to avoid future regulatory risks and transition their customers to cleaner, more competitive technologies.

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Reporting by David Stanway and Zoey Zhang; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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