On Wednesday, campaigns called for global banks to stop financing industrial activities that pushes animal and plant species to extinction after a released report shows 50 lenders involved in sectors that threatens wildlife and the climate.
Portfolio.earth, a network of researchers, published the “Bankrolling Extinction” report that shows none of the lenders have any limit to the impact of their loans to the ecosystem and human’s well being.
“Banks are starting to realize that if they invest in sectors that cause climate change, that will hurt their returns,” Liz Gallagher, director of portfolio.earth, told Reuters in an interview. “Banks need to understand that the same holds true for destroying biodiversity.”
The report shows that about 50 banks in 2019 alone, provided loans of more than $2.6 trillion to sectors that included industrial farming and fishing, fossil fuels, and infrastructures that scientists saybare main causes to biodiversity loss.
“Imagine a world in which projects can only raise capital when they have demonstrated that they will contribute meaningfully and positively to restoring the planet’s bounty and a safe climate for all? That’s the future the report envisions and builds toward,” Kai Chan, an environmental scientist at the University of British Columbia, and leading author of a global study published last year, told Reuters.
Bank of America, Citigroup, and BNP Paribas are among the top 10 biggest lenders. HSBC, which is also included in the top 10, said they teamed up with climate change advisory group firm Pollination Group back in August to ensure they are helping protect the environment and not cause it further damage.
“Climate and nature are intricately linked, and the financial services industry can help customers transform their business to low carbon and also enables credible investments that preserve and protect nature and biodiversity,” said Daniel Klier, global head of sustainable finace at HSBC.
“The report from portfolio.earth confirms what our research also shows, that banks globally still need to step up their game and develop an approach to protect biodiversity,” added Peter van der Werf, senior engagement specialist at Netherlands-based asset manager Robeco.