ABN AMRO’s part in global climate initiatives at the Climate Week in New York

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ABN AMRO’s CEO Kees van Dijkhuizen is currently in New York for Climate Week. An initiative of the United Nations and New York City, Climate Week has turned into the most important meeting place for organisations around the world to show their climate initiatives, and to talk about possible ways of improving their positive impact on the climate.

Van Dijkhuizen started the Climate Week yesterday by signing the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. Besides signing the Principles, he will spend Climate Week attending a programme of banking events.

Sustainable banking system

ABN AMRO is making strong progress with its sustainability efforts. One of its spearheads is Mission 2030, an endeavour defining high ambitions for improving the sustainability of real estate. Of the bank’s current loans to the energy sector, 15% already goes to renewable energy; next year the bank hopes to raise this to 20%. It is expected that this will increase rapidly thereafter. Over the past two years, Private Banking’s assets in sustainable investments have surged from 10 billion euros to 16 billion euros. Over half of all new investors now prefer sustainable investments.;

ABN AMRO is also working to improve its own properties. By 2023 all the bank’s own buildings should have energy label A, and the bank wants them to be Paris-proof by 2030 (‘Paris-proof’ means emitting no more than 50 kiloWatt hours per square metre on an annual basis.) ABN AMRO is actively sharing the lessons learned from this sustainable transition with its clients.

Signing the UN Principles for Responsible Banking reflects ABN AMRO commitment to society’s sustainability goals. The Principles offer guidance for pursuing those goals: a framework for a sustainable banking system that will accelerate the sector’s efforts to help achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Principles in practice

Besides signing the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, ABN AMRO’s CEO Van Dijkhuizen will take part in an international panel where he and the CEOs of various other banks will share their thoughts on how the newly launched Principles for Responsible Banking will be shaped. At the event the banking sector will also talk to relevant thought leaders and share best practices.

PCAF International Launch

In addition, ABN AMRO’s offices in New York will host the international launch of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF): a methodology developed by fourteen financial institutions from the Netherlands for assessing the environmental impact of investment and credit activity. The results can be used to map out the footprint of investments, and so improve carbon accounting. Development of this open source method for measuring the carbon footprint of investments and loans started as soon as the Climate Agreement was signed in 2015. ABN AMRO is one of the founders, and a member of the international steering committee. Now is the time for banks across the world to join.

As the method is open source, other organisations are also invited to join the partnership, to give them access to a uniform standard for measuring their carbon emissions. New partners will potentially also help to further refine the method. In combination with other methods, this initiative will make it possible to carefully judge the partners’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions. ABN AMRO is also actively developing various related methods.

Sustainable Ocean Principles

ABN AMRO is also one of the founders of the Sustainable Ocean Principles, which have also had their official launch at the Climate Week in New York. These principles are the product of an intensive partnership between a select group of institutions, one of which was ABN AMRO. The principles highlight the responsibility of companies to take action for healthy and sustainably productive oceans. ABN AMRO had been asked by the UN to help with this initiative based on the bank’s endeavours in defining standards for responsible shipwreck recycling.

Getting to Zero Coalition

ABN AMRO is also a partner of the Global Maritime Forum, Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum in the Getting to Zero Coalition. The goal of the coalition is to ensure the deployment of zero-emission vessels by 2030. As an important financier of the maritime industry, ABN AMRO wants to help its clients accelerate the transition towards more sustainable operations.


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