The world’s biggest financial institutions are undermining their net zero targets with continued support for the fossil fuel industry, a new report has claimed.
A study of the world’s 30 largest financial institutions by think tank Influence Map has revealed they provided a collective $740bn for fossil fuel production in 2020/21, while half are members of industry groups which have lobbied directly against climate policy.
While 97 per cent of the institutions (29) have set net zero targets, none have fossil fuel financing policies in line with net zero pathways outlined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the report found.
Activist investor Sir Christopher Hohn said any bank making a net zero promise while “actively lobbying against necessary climate regulation” was guilty of “greenwashing”.
The study compared the net zero pledges of the institutions with their financial activity and other interests. Barclays, HSBC and Santander were all included in the analysis.
While the report noted a significant increase in public support for climate action among finance institutions, it found a “disconnect” between words and action, with a collective $740 billion in fossil fuel financing enabled by the institutions over the past two years.