Financial firms should disclose emissions from activities they fund, group says

The report comes as more financial services firms sign up to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century.
The report comes as more financial services firms sign up to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - The world's banks, asset managers and insurers should provide more information to investors about the greenhouse gas emissions from the activities they finance, a group that tracks emissions data said on Wednesday (April 28).

CDP, which maintains a system used by hundreds of companies, cities, states and regions to voluntarily disclose their emissions data, published a report on Wednesday that emphasised the need for better data from finance companies.

It said that of 332 companies to respond to its climate questionnaire, just 84, including insurer AXA and banks HSBC and BNY Mellon, had disclosed the emissions from their lending, underwriting or investment portfolios.

Of those that did disclose this information, many under-reported it. Forty-seven of the 84 companies included information related to less than 50 per cent of their financed emissions, the group found.

The clients funded by financial firms are responsible for 700 times the emissions of the finance firms themselves, CDP said, explaining why it was important for banks and insurers to understand the impact of client activities as well as their own.

"For financial institutions that do not currently measure their financed emissions, the message from this flagship report is clear - they must start doing so, now, to understand their overall climate impact and the risks they face," said Emily Kreps, Global Director of Capital Markets at CDP.

The report comes as more financial services firms sign up to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

Yet less than half of the companies assessed by CDP were moving to align their investments with the goal of the Paris Agreement on climate, to cap the global temperature increase at well-below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial norms by 2050.

Worst-performing was the insurance industry, CDP said, with just 27 per cent of companies the group had assessed providing plans to achieve the climate goals through their portfolios.