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ANZ’s new carbon initiatives

Climate change is one of the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges.

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Collectively, we all need to contribute towards a solution so current and future generations can continue to thrive.

" We are in a unique position, through our lending decisions, to support customers and projects that reduce emissions as well as support economic growth.”

Reducing carbon emissions is fundamental. And it is a shared responsibility for every sector of the economy, requiring collaboration between government, business and industry.

As a bank, ANZ understands the impact – positive and negative – our financing has on climate change. We are in a unique position, through our lending decisions, to support customers and projects that reduce emissions as well as support economic growth.

That is why we’ve announced important changes to our carbon policy, supporting the transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050. Our new approach recognises the important role we play and commits us to taking strong action to support the Paris Agreement.

These new measures will underpin our risk management efforts and position us well ahead of anticipated regulatory change. They build on work already underway to support 100 of our largest emitting customers in the energy, transport, buildings, food, beverages and agribusiness sectors to manage and disclose their transition plans.

It’s important to recognise that these changes are focused on supporting large Institutional customers in their transition and won’t have any impact on the bank’s farmgate lending practices.

ANZ has a long history of supporting Australia’s farmers and producers and that will not change. Indeed, the bank is committing to the allocation of $1 billion of funding towards supporting customers’ and communities’ disaster recovery and resilience, which stands to benefit rural Australia and communities.

We are committing to three key areas: helping our customers; supporting industry transition; and reducing our own impact as an organisation.

Specifically, we are:

  • Broadening our engagement with our largest emitting customers to include major oil and gas companies within the energy sector, to support their transition plans.
  • Disclosing more robust and credible metrics so the emissions impact of our financing can be tracked annually, starting with commercial property and power generation.
  • Allocating $A1 billion of our existing 2025 $A50 billion sustainable finance target towards supporting customers and communities’ disaster recovery and resilience. We will do this by allocating capital to fund or facilitate resilience initiatives for weather related events, or to build resilience against non-weather related disasters such as pandemics.
  • Strengthening our thermal coal policies in the following ways:
    • Focusing on supporting diversified customers and no longer banking any new business customers with material thermal coal exposures, meaning more than 10 per cent. This is down from the current 50 per cent threshold;
    • For existing customers who have more than 50 per cent thermal coal exposure, we will engage with them to seek specific, time bound and public diversification strategies. If they do not have this strategy by 2025, we will cap limits and reduce our exposure over time. By 2030, this threshold will reduce to 25 per cent;
    • By 2030, we will only directly finance gas and renewable power generation.

Our decision to only directly finance gas and renewable power generation from 2030 means we will not directly finance any new coal-fired power plants or thermal coal mines, or expansions. We will also wind down any existing direct financing of these assets by 2030.

In the property sector, we will only finance the construction of new large-scale office buildings if they are highly energy efficient and being built to either a NABERS 5-star energy rating or 5-star Green Star Design rating (or equivalent international rating), at least.

It’s also important we reduce our own impact at ANZ so we will accelerate our emission reductions by sourcing 100 per cent of the electricity needed for our business operations from renewables by 2025.

How ANZ’s lending is supporting the Paris goals

Since 2015, ANZ has expanded its lending support to the renewable energy sector and significantly reduced its exposures to thermal coal mining. Our response to supporting the transition has evolved over time and we’ve made strong progress so far.

In the last five years, we have reduced our lending to thermal coal mining by almost 70 per cent and increased our direct lending to renewables by around 63 per cent. This is a clear sign we are serious about making changes to our lending portfolio and seeing our commitments through.

We are confident the measures being announced strike the appropriate balance while allowing governments, communities and customers enough time to make a critical transition for the future of our environment.

Mark Whelan is Group Executive Institutional at ANZ

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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