Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) plans to promote the transition to climate-friendly solutions and reduce support to thermal coal projects to bring its financing operations in line with the Paris Agreement goals.
In its updated Climate Change Position Statement and 2023 Action Plan, the bank says it will aim to provide AUD 3.5 billion (USD 2.24bn/EUR 2.05bn) to climate change solutions over the next three years and AUD 15 billion by 2030.
At the same time, Westpac will no longer accept new thermal coal customers, while support for coal mines and projects will be limited to existing basins. Existing thermal coal customers, including their subsidiaries, can still count on Westpac as the bank commits to reduce its portfolio exposure to zero by 2030.
Financing for metallurgical coal production will remain, but the bank said it will also support initiatives that will help the steel industry cut down the need for coal. As for investments in oil and gas, Westpac said it will “continue to assess” their role in the transition to a low carbon economy and work with customers to develop financing strategies and portfolio targets for emissions intensive sectors in line with the Paris Agreement.
For its electricity generation portfolio, Westpac has set the emissions intensity target of 0.23 tonnes CO2e per MWh by 2025, below that of 0.26t CO2e/MWh it said it reached in Australia. With the new financing strategy in plans for the power sector, the emissions intensity is to go down to 0.18t CO2e/MWh by 2030.
The bank’s electricity generation portfolio has a 75% share of renewables, according to the document.
Under a scenario aligned with the Paris Agreement goals, Australia is expected to reach around 90% renewables share in the electricity grid by 2050, thanks to new investments in wind, solar and grid-scale storage technologies, Westpac said.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.64/EUR 0.59)
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