If the UK’s largest banks and investors are countries, they are ranked 9th in the world in terms of the carbon emissions they are responsible for.
This is an impressive conclusion of the new analysis by Greenpeace and WWF.
The study evaluated emissions related to global investment by 15 British banks and 10 asset managers.
A spokesman for a British financial institution said he promised to reach net zero by 2050.
Net zero means reducing carbon emissions as much as possible. This balances the remaining emissions by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere, for example through tree planting.
The study, led by South Pole, a specialist in environmental analysis, is an attempt to roughly estimate the carbon dioxide emissions of choices made by British financial giants.
Using the 2019 data, we can see that it is responsible for a total of 805 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.
This is 1.8 times the total UK emissions that year, slightly higher than Germany.
According to Greenpeace, this indicates that the financial sector should be considered “high carbon” along with the oil and gas industry, coal mines, aviation and transportation.
Actual figures can be much higher, as the quote does not include emissions related to insurance underwriting or assets.
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, described finance as “a dirty little secret in Britain.”
“Banks and investors are more responsible for emissions than most countries, and the UK government is giving them a free pass,” he said.
“While allowing financial institutions to spend billions of dollars on fossil fuel production each year, how can we say that we are” the world leader in climate change? ” This claim is almost funny. “
Tanya Steele, CEO of WWFUK, called on the financial sector to develop a zero-carbon transition plan that covers investments around the world.
“Trying to set the path to net zero emissions without working on the UK financial sector is like plastering when a patient needs open heart surgery,” she said.
“Despite seeing an ambitious effort to tackle climate emergencies, our financial sector is heading towards an old destructive way of doing business that is destroying one of our shared homes. We are promoting global investment. “
In response, a UK Finance spokesman representing the banking and financial industry did not disagree with the results of the new analysis.
He said creditors “play a leading role in the transition to net-zero finance.”
“Last month, the UK’s six largest banking groups were one of the founding members of the United Nations’ new Net Zero Banking Alliance, promising net zero emissions from their portfolios by 2050,” he added. It was.
“The industry will continue to work with others to help mobilize capital in a way that takes into account the needs of the community and the environment.”
Prior to the COP26 Climate Summit, which is scheduled to take place in Glasgow later this year, all sectors of the economy are under more scrutiny and are set to challenge its green certification.
Follow David On Twitter.