Spanish banking giant Santander said Monday it would stop doing business with companies most exposed to coal mining by 2030 as part of its efforts to fight climate change.
Santander will cut all exposure to thermal coal mining and stop providing services to power generation clients that earn more than 10 per cent of their revenues from thermal coal, a statement said.
‘Climate change is a global emergency,’ the statement quoted Santander chairman Ana Botin as saying.
‘As one of the world’s largest banks, with 148 million customers, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to support the green transition, and encourage more people and businesses to go green.’
Santander also pledged to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 to ‘support the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change’.
Spain’s largest bank said it would publish decarbonisation targets for other sectors such as oil and gas, transport and mining by September 2022.
Investors, politicians and activists have begun to focus on the role played by banks in financing fossil fuels, to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Last year, a report by campaign group ShareAction blasted Europe’s banking sector for ‘not doing enough’ to tackle the climate crisis.
Investors coordinated by ShareAction have filed resolutions at shareholder meetings of British banks HSBC and Barclays that urge them to phase out fossil fuel lending.
Santander is now joining other major banks that have expressed support for the Paris agreement climate goals.
Bank of America has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its financing activities and operations before 2050, joining US peers such as Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase in the effort.
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