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Net Zero Banking Alliance

A group of leading global banks committed to financing ambitious climate action to transition the real economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Net Zero Banking Alliance
Leadership team

Daniel Storey (Communications Lead, Net-Zero Banking Alliance, UNEP FI)

Adrienne Cleverly (Communications Consultant, Net-Zero Banking Alliance, UNEP FI (US based))

Year stablished
2021
Summary

The Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) is an industry-led initiative that operates under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). Comprising prominent global banks, this alliance is dedicated to providing financial support for ambitious climate action with the overarching goal of transitioning the real economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

One of the key features of the Net Zero Banking Alliance is its framework, which encompasses guidelines and peer learning opportunities. This framework assists member banks in formulating, setting, and achieving credible science-based net-zero targets for the year 2030 or even earlier. These targets are designed not only to align with global climate goals but also to deliver tangible value for the investors, clients, and customers associated with the member banks.

By fostering collaboration among leading banks, the Net Zero Banking Alliance plays a crucial role in mobilizing financial resources towards sustainable and climate-friendly projects. The alliance's commitment to science-based targets underscores a rigorous approach to addressing climate change, ensuring that the actions taken by member banks are aligned with the latest scientific insights on achieving net-zero emissions.

In essence, the Net Zero Banking Alliance serves as a powerful catalyst for aligning the financial sector with climate objectives, facilitating the transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon global economy. The alliance's work is positioned at the intersection of industry leadership, international collaboration, and a commitment to addressing the urgent challenges posed by climate change.


History

April 2021: Alliance Launch

November 9, 2022: First Progress Report

  • The NZBA releases its first Progress Report, showcasing intermediate 2030 decarbonization targets set by over 60 member banks.
  • The report emphasizes the meaningful and science-based nature of the targets, focusing on the most carbon-intensive sectors and financial exposures.
  • Notably, 90% of the 43 banks due to publish targets by October 2022 have done so, and 19 additional members have set and met their targets ahead of schedule.
  • The report highlights the Alliance's growth, tripling in size to include 122 member banks from 41 countries, representing 40% of global banking assets.

Key Achievements and Initiatives:

  • NZBA has prioritized the development and publication of science-based decarbonization targets.
  • A significant milestone is reached with over half of the Alliance members setting intermediate targets, showcasing progress in decarbonization efforts.
  • The Alliance emphasizes its commitment to supporting a sustainable financial system and blazing a trail for other banks to follow.
  • Efforts include the publication of Supporting Notes on Guidelines and the Transition Finance Guide to aid members in their decarbonization journey.

Vision and Call to Policymakers:

  • The report outlines the Alliance's vision for creating a predictable and enabling policy environment to accelerate the net-zero transition.
  • NZBA reiterates its call for support from policymakers, urging the creation of a supportive regulatory environment for an orderly 'whole economy' transition to net zero.
  • Members urgently call on governments to commit to the Paris Agreement's target of 1.5°C, signaling that private finance is ready to complement government actions in achieving the net-zero transition.

In a span of just one and a half years, the NZBA has evolved into a significant force, not only meeting its growth targets but also demonstrating substantial progress in aligning the global banking industry with ambitious climate goals.


Goals and Purpose

The NZBA, launched in April 2021, is a UN-convened alliance of global banks committed to financing climate action. Its primary goals and purpose include:

Transition to Net Zero: Lead the transition of the real economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

2030 Targets: Set and achieve science-based, meaningful decarbonization targets for 2030, prioritizing carbon-intensive sectors.

Global Impact: Mobilize financial resources for sustainable projects, with 122 member banks from 41 countries representing 40% of global banking assets.

Industry Leadership: Serve as a trailblazer in decarbonization efforts, supporting a more sustainable financial system.

Policy Advocacy: Call on policymakers for a supportive regulatory environment, urging a 'whole economy' transition to net zero in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

Progress and Reporting: Regularly report on members' progress, providing insights into the global banking industry's efforts towards a net-zero future.


Impact

Impact of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA):

Decarbonization Leadership: NZBA has emerged as a pioneering force, tripling in size in just 18 months, with over 60 member banks setting ambitious, science-based decarbonization targets.

Global Reach: Representing 40% of global banking assets, NZBA's influence extends internationally, mobilizing financial resources for sustainable projects.

Accelerated Progress: The majority of member banks have met their 2030 targets, showcasing exceptional progress and dedication to decarbonizing the highly emitting sectors.

Industry Trailblazer: NZBA's efforts are setting a clear roadmap for the global banking industry, emphasizing the importance of decarbonization and sustainability.

Policy Advocacy: The Alliance actively calls on policymakers for supportive regulatory environments, reinforcing the private finance sector's readiness to complement government actions in achieving the net-zero transition.


References

List of NZBA member banks and their targets | Unepfi

Net Zero Banking Alliance | Climatechampions

Dr. Mohieldin urges banks to drive green growth, and discusses digitalization for climate action in the Arab region | Climatechampions

NatWest joins UN-backed Bankers for Net-Zero initiative | Edie

Divestment is banks’ best tool for net zero | Thebanker

Comment: The world cannot afford banks to step back from their net-zero commitments | Reuters

Gfanz: Why GLS Bank’s exit is a serious setback | Capitalmonitor

BBVA renews its membership of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance Steering Committee | BBVA

We are committed to achieving net zero emissions | Thedailystar

Are Latin American financial institutions ready for sustainability? | Mckinsey

Sustainable Investment Forum North America 2023 | Climateaction

Green alliance crisis is more than just a US drama | Reuters

Explainer: What is Gfanz and is it working? | Capitalmonitor

Mark Carney’s green alliance rides out stormy waters | Financial Times

Banks still investing heavily in fossil fuels despite net zero pledges – study | Theguardian

Dozens of banks urged not to finance Rosebank oil and gas field | Edie

Mark Carney’s net-zero banking alliance backtracks on compulsory climate targets | Corporateknight

Managing financed emissions: How banks can support the net-zero transition | Mckinsey

Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero continue to finance fossil fuel, says 350.org | Mediaindia

Despite their net-zero pledges, deforestation remains a big blind spot for bankers | Reuters

ESG Watch: Banks’ net-zero pledges in spotlight over fossil fuel investment plans | Reuters

Net Zero Banking Alliance
Leadership team

Daniel Storey (Communications Lead, Net-Zero Banking Alliance, UNEP FI)

Adrienne Cleverly (Communications Consultant, Net-Zero Banking Alliance, UNEP FI (US based))

Year stablished
2021