Standard Chartered Invests to Help Solve the 150-Trillion-Dollar Problem

Standard Chartered’s vision to be the world’s most sustainable and responsible bank includes considerable climate change obligations. The bank’s ambitious targets to reach net-zero emissions in its own operations by 2025 and in its financing by 2050 have sparked a wide array of initiatives impacting stakeholders and operations.

“Everyone has a role to play in limiting global warming to well below two degrees,” says Ian Anderson, CEO of Standard Chartered Taiwan. “The bank’s role is that of catalyzer in that it provides financing. As for Standard Chartered, we operate in 59 markets with a pronounced presence in areas that are expected to be the most impacted by climate change, and potentially also the ones that need the most help in making climate-friendly transitions.”

Between US$100-150 trillion of climate-aligned finance will be required until 2050 to achieve a scenario of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius, an annual investment of US$3–5 trillion. Last year’s global sustainable financing of around US$1.6 trillion fell far short of that target.

To help accelerate the green transition of countries and companies, Standard Chartered has committed to mobilizing US$300 billion of climate-aligned financing globally until 2030. “These are big numbers that come with big commitments because the problem is massive,” says Anderson. He adds that building a net-zero client portfolio is a significant responsibility. “We need to enable companies to reach their climate goals through providing financing to decarbonization technology, wind, solar, relocation of plants and facilities, and much more.”

In a recent study, the bank found that 78% of multinationals are looking to transform their supply chains to align with sustainability targets and will remove suppliers that endanger their transition plans by 2025. Responding to this trend, Standard Chartered launched its sustainable supply chain financing scheme to help build climate-friendly supply chains to support the transition. Additionally, its sustainability-linked loan financing provides KPI-dependent incentives for companies to remove greenhouse gas emissions and score certain levels on sustainability indexes, completing multi-billion-dollar landmark transactions for leading Taiwan corporates. 

These efforts are not limited to large corporates; the bank also provides innovative solutions for its retail and wealth management customers, such as green mortgages, time deposits, and sustainable investment products. “Customers want to invest in more sustainable solutions, and we are innovating to meet these demands,” says Anderson.

Standard Chartered works with several partners to achieve its climate ambitions. One of these is Imperial College London, which provides the bank with climate-related advice, thought leadership, and industry papers. The institution has also aided Standard Chartered in developing climate change, climate risk, and sustainability training for personnel through an online, interactive video platform. The bank has additionally signed a multi-year contract with consulting firm Baringa to model climate change-related transition risk and temperature alignment.

“When we make a risk assessment of a client, we’re adding on a climate risk profile to the usual cash flow, balance sheets, and other indicators,” says Anderson. “We also undergo geo-coding and postal coding to risk-assess properties in the markets where we’re mortgage lenders.”

Standard Chartered also maintains high standards for its own properties. The bank has cut its carbon emissions by more than 30% since 2019 to roughly 6,000 metric tons per year, while its water usage decreased by the equivalent of three Olympic-sized swimming pools and its paper usage fell by 7.5 million pages. Meanwhile, the bank’s new headquarters in Taipei is undergoing LEED certification, and it is also looking at installing solar panels on a number of its properties in Taiwan to reduce its carbon footprint.

Standard Chartered Bank Building

“But even with all these implementations, we have around 30% carbon emissions left to cut by 2025,” says Anderson. “We don’t simply want to mitigate these with carbon credits, so now we’re looking into sourcing green energy for our operations.” Anderson adds that Standard Chartered has already invested in five wind projects and one solar project in Taiwan, with a number of other renewable energy projects in the pipeline.

Flexible and environmentally friendly working environment

None of these advances would have been possible without the backing of an ambitious workforce, says Anderson, adding that he is fortunate to rally a passionate group of around 3,000 people with its own sustainability goals. The Taiwan team’s dedication to sustainability is so extensive that staff initiated a net-zero working group to speed up the bank’s green transition on the island.

“Climate-friendly action is an important value for our employees,” he says. “Of course, you want a competitive salary, but work becomes more meaningful when your organization also aligns with your own values and purpose, and it makes you want to excel. That’s why I feel confident that this is just the beginning of our sustainability advancement in Taiwan and globally.”

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