Bankers for NetZero, the initiative that aims to find positive solutions for accelerating progress towards a net zero world, has today confirmed the commitment of five banks that will play a proactive role in financing a green recovery and net zero transition across the entire UK economy.
By collaborating across business, finance and government, the initiative will explore how the banking sector can help de-risk the net zero transition and work with other stakeholders to ensure policy, regulation and finance are all playing their part in enabling key industries of the UK economy to recover and transform themselves.
The outcomes are expected to give the UK banking sector the opportunity to take global leadership in being a proactive part of the solution, demonstrating its ability to innovate against the backdrop of a rapidly changing social, economic and environmental context.
Bankers for NetZero is run in partnership by Volans, a research and advisory firm, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fair Business Banking, and Re:Pattern, a strategy consultancy specialising in sustainable finance. The initiative is engaging with stakeholders across government, the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Competition & Markets Authority, and has the backing of several key national and international bodies such as UNEP FI and the UK’s Green Finance Institute.
Bankers for NetZero kickstarted discussions in its first meeting on 16th July, with a webinar for parliamentarians, policymakers, banks and businesses that focused on retrofitting the built environment and the role that banks can play in delivering programmes at scale.
Following a series of working groups and in-depth research, the initiative will set out to create a concrete outline laying down what the UK can do to help accelerate the transition to net zero. A white paper of its initial findings and recommendations will be released later this year.
Commenting on the announcement, UK High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 Nigel Topping, notes: “Banks have been a bit late to the game on climate action. I really welcome the Bankers for NetZero initiative because it’s time for banks to catch up.”
Louise Kjellerup Roper, CEO of Volans adds “Putting sustainability and resilience at the heart of the recovery from the COVID crisis is vital. Now is the time to turn brilliant thinking and principles into action – to break down the barriers between banks, business and regulators and ensure urgent transition in the right direction and at speed. We’re thrilled to have Barclays, Triodos, Ecology Building Society, Handelsbanken and Tide on board and prepared to make such radical steps to transform the UK Financial Sector.”
Nigel Higgins, Group Chairman Barclays & Chairman of Barclays Bank Plc comments “With thanks to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking, we support the objective of the Bankers for Net Zero initiative. As the first bank to set an ambition to be net zero by 2050, Barclays takes seriously the notion that banks can, and should, play a leading role in tackling climate change. The transition to a low carbon economy is one of the most complex challenges we face, and it will require close collaboration between both the private and public sector to get there. We hope that Bankers for Net Zero can make a significant contribution to that goal.”
Oliver Prill, Tide CEO said: “We are delighted to have joined the Bankers for Net Zero initiative and see it as a very important project to help UK businesses move towards a more sustainable future as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. At Tide, we are particularly excited to work with participants across the business banking sector to come up with very practical ways that small businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and reach for a Net Zero carbon status.”
Mikael Sorensen, CEO of Handelsbanken UK, comments: “As a relationship bank, we’re keen to be able to help our local customers manage the financial risks posed by climate change, and to thrive in a Net Zero economy. Given the distinct challenges of transition for each business, it’s important to find approaches that can work at the local, individual level, as well as establishing principles and policies that can benefit broader industries and communities. This is why we’re pleased to contribute to, and learn from, the Bankers for Net Zero initiative.”
Bevis Watts, CEO, Triodos Bank UK adds: “As a bank founded on the mission of protecting and promoting quality of life for all, we feel a responsibility to work with the wider banking sector to reinvent our industry, fit for the challenges we now face, and responsible for the impacts we have. That’s why we’re pleased to be part of the Bankers for Net Zero initiative. The true environmental and social impacts of our financial choices need to be fully embedded into our decision-making as an industry. It is possible for us to act on the climate crisis to be stronger, and more resilient, but only if we acknowledge the fundamental changes our banking system must make to better serve people and planet.”
Paul Ellis, Chief Executive, Ecology Building Society comments “As we emerge from the disruption wrought by Covid-19, the banking sector has a critical role to turn this crisis into a defining moment in the urgent fight against climate change, delivering the financial solutions that are essential to support a green recovery and meet our net zero carbon targets. Ecology has been building a greener society for nearly forty years, providing values-based finance to support a sustainable future. Given the scale of the climate and ecological crisis, we need finance that serves people and planet. We’re pleased to be part of the Bankers for Net Zero initiative which we hope will help drive systemic change, ensuring that the purpose of banking extends beyond profit to creating positive environmental and social impacts.”