Singapore bank DBS sets sector-specific decarbonisation goals

A logo of DBS bank is seen in Taipei
A logo of DBS bank is seen in Taipei, Taiwan, January 28, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo

SINGAPORE, Sept 13 (Reuters) – Singapore bank DBS Group (DBSM.SI) set decarbonisation targets for its exposure to industries such as power, oil and gas, aviation and shipping, detailing the commitments as lenders globally face pressure to help fight climate change.

Southeast Asia’s largest lender said on Tuesday that nine sectors that are receiving funding from it have been given targets to hit by 2030 and 2040, eventually achieving zero emissions by 2050.

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“We do believe that this is one of the most expansive set of commitments that exist in the financial sector,” DBS CEO Piyush Gupta told a news conference.

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Last year, DBS agreed to align its lending and investment portfolios with net zero emissions by 2050 but had not provided a sectoral breakdown.

Globally, 116 banks have pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But they are under pressure to give details on the deep shorter-term cuts to “financed emissions” that are needed if the banks are to have any chance of meeting their goals.

Southeast Asia, home to emerging markets such as Indonesia and Thailand, is seeing big increases in electricity demand, with coal and gas-fired power plants making up the main sources of electricity. Many governments in the region have set targets for net zero emissions and carbon neutrality.

“Our clients who are heavy carbon producers realise the train has left the station and they have to do the right thing,” said Tan Su Shan, group head of DBS’ institutional banking business.

DBS said the sectors represent 31% of the bank’s outstanding loans but make up the vast majority of the institutional banking segment’s financed emissions.

The decarbonisation targets will also cover DBS’ capital markets activities. The bank’s total assets stood at S$686 billion ($492.1 billion) as of December and customer loans at S$409 billion.

Gupta said DBS’ target for the power sector is for emissions to drop from the current 260kgCO2/MWh to 138 by 2030, then reach zero by 2040 — a decade before targets set for the other sectors such as oil and gas, and automotive.

The bank has previously committed to zero thermal coal exposure by 2039. Its current exposure to thermal coal was just 0.26% of its books, DBS said.

Asian banks, including DBS and Nomura Holdings (8604.T) are part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), the body charged with marshalling the financial world’s contribution to the fight against climate change.

In February, HSBC (HSBA.L) said it aims to cut emissions associated with loans made to its oil and gas clients by 34% this decade. read more

($1 = 1.3941 Singapore dollars)

SOURCE: Reuters