A report funded by eight banks from around the world and just published by the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) looks at ways in which banks can serve to accelerate the financing of the low carbon economy, and in so doing develop a vision for a bank of 2030. Long-term success, it says, is “associated with the ability to help clients secure capital at a rate that makes a low-carbon investment more atttractive and connect clients with experts to develop a compelling low-carbon investment case and provide ongoing assistance with its implementation.”
The world has moved swiftly from talking about a ‘climate crisis’ alongside the need for ‘sustainability’ to referring to a ‘climate emergency.’ Sustainable business models rely on the ability to transition. It is estimated and well documented that without deep and sustained cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, we are on course for a 2degree C increase around 2050. “This could mean an increase in the global population facing water scarcity of nearly 400 million, and the cost of annual flood damage losses from rising sea levels of more than $11tn” says the report. The cost of doing nothing cannot be quantified, or imagined.
Or, as Henri de Castries, the then-CEO and chairman of AXA, one of the world’s largest insurers, said in 2015 and I reported : “A 2 degree C world might be insurable. A 4 degree C world certainly would not be.”