BNZ first NZ bank to sign up to Net Zero Banking Alliance

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) has today signed up to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), committing it to work with customers to increase sustainability and reduce emissions that align to net-zero emissions by 2050.

In becoming the first New Zealand bank to commit to membership of the Net Zero Banking Alliance, an industry-led, UN-convened alliance of banks worldwide, BNZ will accelerate a reduction in operational and attributable Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions across its lending and investment portfolios. It will do this by incentivising emissions reduction and working with customers on transition plans that align their businesses to net zero pathways.

BNZ CEO Dan Huggins says, “BNZ has a critical role to play as New Zealand transitions to a low emissions future, including supporting our customers to accelerate emissions reductions and deliver a healthier, greener future.

“Joining the Net Zero Banking Alliance shows we’re serious about leading efforts to lower emissions across our operations and all our portfolios to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees,” he says.

Huggins says BNZ’s operations are already carbon neutral and committing to the NZBA will help focus its work to reduce emissions through the bank’s lending and investments.

He says, “We’re already working with large customers to develop transition plans that lower emissions and increase sustainability, and earlier this year we launched New Zealand’s first on-farm Sustainability Linked Loan – tying environmental and social change to lower lending costs.”

He says BNZ intends to use the Climate Action Toolbox to support its small and medium business customers to measure and reduce emissions across their operations, and the bank will continue to develop its Responsible Investment Policy to further reduce exposure to carbon intensive sectors such as Oil and Gas and Coal.

“The work to lower emissions is urgent. Every business and customer has a role to play in addressing climate change and we want to encourage action to get there faster,” he says.

BNZ’s joining of the Net Zero Banking Alliance comes as countries convene in Glasgow for COP26 to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.