Italian bank UniCredit has pledged to stop all monetary lending to thermal coal projects by 2023, joining a growing number of financial enterprises who are pushing to improve their green credentials. Banks around the world have been put under increasing pressure in recent times not only from climate change activists, but also from regulators and investors to push the transition for a low-carbon economy.
Lending activities towards projects involved in coal, oil and gas have been key targets to such pressure as climate scientists from around the world have been raising their voices to reduce the high global reliance on fossil fuels, in an effort to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels.
UniCredit revealed its sustainability targets, before disclosing the bank’s latest 4 year plan. The organization has also stated its intention to increase its involvement in the renewable energy sector in a quarter to more than 9 billion euros by 2023.
The moves have come as banks with assets accounting for one-third of the global industry adopted the responsible banking principles, backed by the United Nations, in a push to combat climate change, by moving their loan activities away from carbon based industries. A similar move was made by France based BNP Paribas, who pledged to exit financing thermal coal projects by 2030 for the European Union, and 2040 for worldwide operations.
UniCredit Also Plans Anti-Plastic and Renewable Energy Transition
UniCredit addressed a press briefing, where the company gave out reusable metal bottles emblazoned with the slogan: “Do the right thing!” Jean Pierre Mustier, the CEO of the bank also stated that the bank would get rid of all single use plastics in its operations by 2023.
The bank also simultaneously plans to get 100 per cent of its electricity supply for offices across Austria, Italy, and Germany from renewable sources, which is a major move up from the 78 per cent in 2018. The bank has stated that new projects involved in coal fired power production and thermal coal mining would become off limits for the bank. Instead it will seek to reduce the reliance of the bank on coal associated customers for its corporate financing operations.