Engaging banks on the low-carbon economy

Banks have the potential to accelerate the fight against climate change by redirecting lending from carbon-intensive industries to renewable sectors. ShareAction engages with banks to ensure their activities are advancing, and not hindering, the transition to a low-carbon economy. We rank the largest banks on their approaches to climate change, and also mobilise investors to ask for better climate-related disclosures.

Ranking of banks Our investor letter

Why this is important and what we’re doing about it

Banks are central actors in the investment system. Their lending decisions – when, where, and to whom – determine the future structure of our society. By phasing out lending to polluting industries and increasing financing to renewable sectors, banks have the potential to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

ShareAction collaborates with a range of stakeholders to make sure banks align their activities with the needs of this transition. So far, we have mobilised over 100 investors worth nearly $2 trillion to write to 62 global banks, asking for better climate-related disclosures. We have also ranked the 15 largest European banks on how well they are managing climate-related issues. Each year, we attend the AGMs of major European banks to ask them to step up their climate commitments.

This year, we are focussing our campaign on the following themes:

  • Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD);
  • Aligning lending criteria with the goals of the Paris Agreement;
  • Low-carbon products and services;
  • Governance structures and strategy on climate-related risks and opportunities.


Getting to Green: Showcasing Leading Approaches to Climate Change within the European Banking Sector

24 September 2018

This report showcases leading approaches to climate change within the European banking sector. It provides recommendations on how banks can align their business models with the goals of the Paris Agreement.


Banking Beyond Coal: Sustainable Development Without Coal Finance

21 June 2018

This briefing investigates the financing of the coal power sector, particularly in the developing world. It provides recommendations for shareholders engaging with banks to strengthen their coal policies.


Banking on a Low-Carbon Future: A Ranking of the 15 Largest European Banks Response to Climate Change

7 December 2017

This is a ranking of the 15 largest European banks’ responses to climate change and includes recommendations for institutional investors, policymakers, and regulators to mitigate climate risks.


Banking on a Low-Carbon Future: Accompanying Document with Individual Scorecards

7 December 2017

This accompanying document to the ranking of the 15 largest European banks’ responses to climate change contains recommendations for each bank surveyed and scorecards displaying their performance.


Banking on a Low Carbon Future: An Investor Guide for Engaging with Banks on Climate Change

21 February 2017

This report highlights why the banking sector is key for climate-related investor engagement and provides guidelines on the key issues investors might want to focus on to ensure that banks support the low carbon transition.


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Sonia Hierzig Senior Projects Manager - Climate Change

Colette St-OngeBanks