Private banks are often overlooked as key contributors to environmental targets. Yet the demand for banks to step up their game in meeting international environmental agreements is louder than ever before. The Private Banking and International Environmental Goals - Aligning Misalignment report published in August 2020 proposes clear steps that banks can take to be serious players in environmental sustainability.
Reaching international environmental goals needs financing, and private banks have their hand on a significant lever guiding where finances flow globally. Despite this clear connection, bridging private banking activities with environmental impacts is challenged both by the internal processes of the sector as well as external regulation on national and international levels. The “Aligning Misalignment” report, written by CSP and commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, offers an overview of what it would mean for private banks to align themselves with international environmental goals. This means walking the talk of the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Agreement, science-based targets, and national environmental regulations.
The report finds the following three factors key in paving the way for the alignment of private banking activities with international environmental goals:
- Tools and practices: Updated decision-making processes, such as investment decisions, that include additional risk considerations, such as material environmental risk and risk of impact on the environment;
- Scientific targets: Development of transparent science-based target methodologies for all environmental objectives, including those beyond climate change mitigation;
- Core business alignment: Based on a materiality analysis, alignment of core business and the relevant processes, targets, and measurements to ensure the bank contributes to environmental objectives.