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Financial institutions develop methodology to measure carbon impact

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Twelve Dutch banks, insurance companies, asset managers and pension providers have developed a methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of their investments and loans. This will enable them to set their own targets for helping to keep global warming within safe limits.

The final report, including the methodology – the product of two years’ work – will be presented to Marcel Beukeboom, the Dutch climate change envoy to the Paris climate change summit, on 12 December 2017.
 
Financial institutions can influence the carbon footprint of business undertakings. They do this by taking account of the business’s carbon footprint when they make investment decisions, and by entering into a dialogue on the carbon footprint of business undertakings in which they invest or which they finance.
 
That information forms the basis of the Platform Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). This is one of the first initiatives in which financial institutions have worked together to reduce carbon emissions. The PCAF’s members consist of banks ABN AMRO, ASN Bank, Triodos Bank and De Volksbank, pension funds PMT and PME, asset managers ACTIAM, Achmea Investment Management, APG, MN and PGGM, and development bank FMO. At the Paris Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, they signed the Dutch Carbon Pledge, promising to join forces in the interests of the climate. Insurance company Achmea Investment Management joined the PCAF in 2017.
 
The PCAF members’ plan was to develop within two years a common, transparent methodology that would enable financial institutions to set targets for carbon emissions and to measure the extent to which these targets were achieved. The recently published report describes such methodologies for listed equities, project finance, government bonds, mortgages, corporate finance and real estate. The report is in the public domain. The PCAF members hope this will encourage other financial institutions to adopt these methodologies.
 
Piet Sprengers of ASN Bank, Chair of PCAF says: “We have worked hard for two years and have achieved a great result thanks to the unique collaboration between twelve financials. It is now time to build on this result and really get to grips with the methodology. We are therefore going to proceed with the PCAF for another two years, so that together we can continue to encourage and inspire other institutions. Ultimately, what is important is that we use our influence as financiers and investors to help keep global warning within safe limits.”
 
PCAF’s stance is that a financial institution’s footprint reporting is a means to an end. The ultimate purpose is to allow steering towards a low-carbon portfolio in line with the Paris Agreement.
 
The members also intend to share best practices, address dilemmas and work together on improving the methodologies. They are furthermore going to promote the developed methodology internationally. PCAF is also part of the Dutch Sustainable Finance Platform, chaired by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB).

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