The Amazon rainforest is one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources, but recently, it has been under intensifying attack from ranchers, miners and wood harvesters intent on exploiting the region, aided by the current presidential administration. Foreign investors can either run the other way or take a stand and be part of the solution.
Climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, social equality and other sustainability objectives are top concerns for financial firms and stakeholders. To be on the right side of the transition, banks need to adopt strategy models that incorporate social and environmental factors in loan criteria. Only then will they begin banking for impact.
The Bank of Japan is adding more grit to its campaign to incentivize Japan’s financial sector to fight climate change by supporting sustainability projects and unravelling financing for fossil-fuel sectors. The strategy will involve various lending measures to encourage banks to incorporate climate-mitigation action in their funding.
Banks report to shareholders, but when it comes time to respond to shareholder concerns about their positive contributions to climate-change action, banks often fall short. Progress is slow but steady, thanks to activist shareholders’ efforts, to persuade banks to accept more responsibility for their financing of fossil-fuel ventures.
Financial Institutions are often deliberate targets and unwitting participants in crimes, from money laundering to market manipulation. A relatively recent addition is Green Crime, which includes transgressions against the planet’s natural resources, such as environmental and wildlife crime. Fortunately, Refinitiv’s recent survey results show that the majority of those surveyed want to end ecocide atrocities such as illegal wildlife trafficking, recognizing the risks to not only to the health of the environment but also the financial system.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a truly singular year. With a deep global recession resulting from strict lockdown measures being implemented throughout much of the world, there has been little for investors to cheer. But with signs that the worst may be mostly behind us, an increasing number of opportunities will undoubtedly present themselves as we move into 2021.
Technology has responded to the call to produce innovations that will slow global warming, creating an arsenal of renewable-energy alternatives to fossil fuels. But distribution of these innovations to developing countries has not kept pace, and they are lagging behind in low-carbon adoption. What needs to be done to transfer and deploy existing low-carbon technologies throughout the globe as quickly as possible? The answer lies in solutions such as trade.
On December 15, US bank Goldman Sachs announced what many believe to be the strongest restrictions on fossil-fuel activity by any major bank in the United States. Most notably, the bank has become the first big American lender to restrict financing on any part of the oil-and-gas sector, with a particular focus on protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Few have not embraced the Green Agenda, as we all see the potential for renewable energy to transform the fabric of our lives and to hinder potentially devastating climate change. But wanting to do and doing can be two different things, with the availability of financing often being the deciding factor. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development fills the financing gap, with a focus on worthy private-sector green projects.
The push to transition from fossil fuels to renewables for power generation has been motivated largely by environmental concerns. But today, dollars and cents are increasingly supporting the transformation drive, as renewable-energy sources become much more cost-effective, even outmatching fossil fuels in value per dollar. Forecasts predict that new power generation through renewables—especially solar, wind, hydroelectric—will soon outstrip fossil fuels, attracting growing interest from governments, banks and investors.