Swiss banking major Credit Suisse plans to slash its exposure to the fossil fuel industry by half by 2030.
The bank said, as quoted by Reuters, it had already reduced its exposure to the industry by 41 percent between 2020 and 2021, and currently had some $2.6 billion in loans outstanding with oil, gas, and coal producers.
Global lenders have been in a race to offload their fossil fuel business as they come under increasingly intense pressure to turn their backs on oil and gas from activist investors, environmentalists, and governments.
In response to that pressure, banks have been pressuring their clients to become greener, too. Citi, for instance, announced it would drop some clients unless they set themselves emission reduction targets that correspond to the bank’s own targets.
“At the end of the day, that will mean there are some choices as to which clients we will be serving and which ones we won’t be,” Citi’s chief executive Jane Fraser said in December last year, after announcing the bank would spend $1 trillion on funding the energy transition. “One-size-fits-all won’t work for that.”
Despite accusations of investing billions in oil, gas, and coal, most Western banks have actually been decreasing their exposure to the sector since the Paris Agreement. Among them, according to a 2021 overview by CNBC, were Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.
Meanwhile, activist investors are ramping up the pressure. For Credit Suisse, its latest dose came from a group of shareholders, including Europe’s largest asset manager, French Amundi. The group, which collectively manages $2.4 trillion, called on the bank to set for itself stricter climate change targets, including by cutting its exposure to fossil fuels.
The Swiss bank reported that it had already reduced its exposure to coal by 39 percent to $640 million as of the end of last year, and would cut its exposure to oil and gas by 25 percent from 2020 levels to $9.8 billion.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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