- The South African financial service provider is on a mission to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its own operations by 2040.
- It has also set a similar goal of attaining net zero carbon emissions from its financed emissions portfolio by 2050.
- The bank has pledged to reduce exposure to gas by 2045.
Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s largest lender in terms of assets, has reportedly announced that it plans to rise more than $20 billion by the end of 2026 to help finance green energy projects, despite it continuing to stay open help support conventional fossil fuels.
Announcing its climate goals, the Johannesburg-based bank confirmed its commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its operations by 2040. It also committed to wipe out carbon emissions from its financed emissions portfolio by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement
Globally, banks are re-examining their conventionally set business models, which historically backed some of the worst and largest emitters of greenhouse gases for decades.
Despite the efforts, Standard Bank’s goals are relatively less ambitious when compared to its rivals like Nedbank Group, which outright pledged to stop funding new oil and gas exploration with a promise to abandon new thermal coal mines in 2025.
Speaking on the climate goals, Standard Bank CEO, Sim Tshabalala, mentioned that over a period of centuries, Africa has rendered significant economic as well as human costs for other regions of the world.
According to Tshabalala, an outright ban on transitional projects in Africa with the view of reducing environmental crisis across much richer regions will only ensure more losses for the continent.
Standard Bank’s pledges made so far from an environmental perspective include:
- Plans to reduce group advances and divert from oil by 5% by 2030
- Limit its exposure to thermal coal to approximately 0.7% of group loans as well as advances in 2021, while talking it to 0.5% by 2030.
- Restrict coal mines funding only across the southern African region, if the projects offer an altogether positive impact on the environment
- By 2045, Negate exposure to gas considerably.
- Ensure zero funding for deforestation of natural forests and indigenous trees