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Banks Worth $47 Trillion Adopt New U.N.-Backed Climate Principles

by Mathew Green: Banks with more than $47 trillion in assets, or a third of the global industry…

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adopted new U.N.-backed “responsible banking” principles to fight climate change on Sunday that would shift their loan books away from fossil fuels.

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), Citigroup (C.N) and Barclays (BARC.L) were among 130 banks to join the new framework on the eve of a United Nations summit in New York aimed at pushing companies and governments to act quickly to avert catastrophic global warming.

“These principles mean banks have to consider the impact of their loans on society – not just on their portfolio,” Simone Dettling, banking team lead for the Geneva-based United Nations Environment Finance Initiative, told Reuters.

Under pressure from investors, regulators and climate activists, some big banks have acknowledged the role lenders will need to play in a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy.

Financing for oil, gas and coal projects has come under particular scrutiny as climate scientists step up calls to change the global economy’s deep reliance on fossil-fuels to avert disastrous warming.

The principles, drawn up jointly by U.N. officials and banks, require lenders to:

– Align their strategies with the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb global warming and U.N.-backed targets to fight poverty called the Sustainable Development Goals

– Set targets to increase “positive impacts” and reduce “negative impacts” on people and the environment

– Work with clients and customers to encourage sustainable practices

– Be transparent and accountable about their progress.

Source: Reuters

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