Canadian Banks Conspicuous by Their Absence


Yesterday, banks from around the world launched a global banking coalition for net zero emissions. The only financial institution from Canada to sign on was VanCity Credit Union. Canada's Big Five gave it a pass.

None of Canada’s big five banks were founding signatories of the UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) that promised April 21 to align investment portfolios with science-based climate targets starting in 2030.

The alliance currently counts 43 banks from 23 countries, representing US$28 trillion in assets, including global giants HSBC, Barclays, Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, BNP Paribas, Santander, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Mark Carney, UN special envoy on climate action and finance, is chairing the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ), which also launched Wednesday and counts the banking coalition as one of its arms.

At a virtual launch event, Carney said GFANZ will also involve other arms for asset managers, donors and insurance companies, ultimately bringing together a significant slice of the world’s top financial institutions under the Paris Agreement goals.

“They have one shared mission: To broaden, deepen and accelerate the transition to net-zero by 2050 at the latest,” he said. “We can expect GFANZ to grow further in the lead-up to COP26 in Glasgow,” the next UN climate summit scheduled for November.

Such is life in the petro-state.


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