Planning for a Two Degree Economy
2 May 2016
Holding global warming below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels now forms the basis of international policy negotiations about responding to climate change, a goal Westpac has committed to support.
Westpac Group Head of Sustainability, Siobhan Toohill said Westpac is analysing opportunities and risks associated with climate change across a range of businesses and sectors.
"Westpac recognises that limiting global warming below 2°C will lead to economic changes," Ms Toohill said.
"It will create new market opportunities for some sectors, greater competition for others, and will compel most businesses to find new ways of working.
"Westpac is considering a range of potential outcomes that will help us gain insights to improve our ability to respond and adapt as relevant - through our lending, in our own operations and through engagement with all of our stakeholders," she said.
"The builds on the work we have undertaken over many years to find solutions to environmental challenges, since being the first Australian bank to release a position statement on climate change and the first to publicly commit to prepare for a 2°C economy."
Summary of Westpac's action on climate change
- Increased the proportion of renewable energy financing in our total electricity generation portfolio to more than 61%.
- Recorded a portfolio emissions intensity consistently well below the emissions intensity of the National Electricity Market benchmark.
- Surpassed our 2017 target of lending $6 billion to the CleanTech and environmental services sector, despite introducing more stringent criteria for what is included in this portfolio.
- Launched products and services to assist customers adapt to climate change, including the first Australian denominated Green bond in partnership with the World Bank; Solar Shed package in New Zealand; and energy efficient leases. We also provide interest free loans for employees to purchase solar panels or solar water systems.
- Among the first banks globally to support the Equator Principles - one aspect of how we apply strict environmental, social and governance criteria when considering project funding. We will not proceed with any transaction if we are not comfortable with the risk profile of a project, including environmental risks.
- Actively participate in global partnerships to advocate action on climate change and environmental responsibility.
- Increased transparency in reporting to provide greater insight into environmental performance.
- Improved Westpac's direct environmental footprint, meeting all targets in 2015.
- Achieved carbon neutrality in FY13 and maintained this status.