Australian banks can lead world on sustainability

Australia’s financial sector lags Europe in its understanding and application of sustainability but has the right institutions to lead the world, according to Dr Karl Braganza, Head of Climate Monitoring at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.

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Tea Tree, north of Hobart, Tasmania

Speaking to bluenotes, Dr Braganza said Australia had strong science institutions with a close connection to the country’s financial industry including the big four banks, leaving the country very well placed.  

"While we've started a little bit behind I think the capacity for us to catch up and lead the world in this area is probably there.” – Braganza

“I think Europe probably moved a little bit earlier than Australia in regulating around the economy,” he said. “The science institutions in Europe probably have a little bit of a head start in what sort of data and knowledge they provide to the finance sector.”

“We're not far behind and we have pretty good capability in Australia. While we've started a little bit behind I think the capacity for us to catch up and lead the world in this area is probably there.” 

Dr Braganza said the impact of Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure in Europe would be felt in the financial sector around the world – notable perhaps more than 2016’s Paris agreement on carbon emissions.

“We think the signal to the market through the TCFD system and other risk frameworks will actually drive just as much change,” he said.

Dr Braganza said the corporate response to changing climate conditions in recent years was cause for optimism.

“I am more optimistic than I was a few years ago seeing the changes in the companies I go and speak to,” he said. “Seeing the changing appreciation of the risk itself and seeing… a lot of will to account for climate change is something that's shifted me towards a more optimistic footing.”

Andrew Cornell is managing editor at bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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