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September 5, 2023

Editor’s note: banks’ climate litigation risk and net zero disclosures

Lady justice statue on the Old Bailey, London
The worsening impacts of climate change will lead to increased litigation, warns ECB board member Frank Elderson (Photo: Anthony Brown/Dreamstime)

The latest edition of our Sustainable Views newsletter.

Dear reader,

Today we focus on banking. You may have seen our piece yesterday afternoon about the European Central Bank’s Frank Elderson warning lenders about the risk posed by the growing numbers of climate lawsuits. Elderson, who is an ECB board member and the vice-chair of its supervisory board, was speaking at the institution’s legal conference. 

He urged bank bosses to “get up to speed” with the world of climate litigation and to mitigate such risks by implementing “realistic, transparent and credible transition plans”, which, he pointed out, do not equate to “slick advertising campaign[s] with glossy photos of rainforests – that is just a recipe for greenwashing accusations”.

Meanwhile, a new study found that only a few of the world’s largest banks disclose which specific activities are covered by their climate commitments.

The research, published this morning, was conducted by the TPI Centre, which is part of the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and works with investors representing more than $50tn in combined assets under management and advice. 

It poured over publicly available data for 26 big global lenders, including JPMorgan, HSBC, ING, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. You can find more details in our piece, including who’s done well (ING) and who’s disappointed (JPMorgan). There, you’ll also find links to the report and to the TPI Centre’s individual bank scores and data.

Lastly, we have an opinion piece by ESCP Business School’s Wioletta Nawrot and Deloitte MCS’s Tomasz Walkowicz on why, despite last year’s slump, we should be optimistic about the future of sustainable bonds.

Until tomorrow,


Silvia Pavoni is the editor of Sustainable Views


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