An Investment Bank’s Approach to Sustainability and Climate Action

Issue 11: 2/12/2022 Sustainability News

The FIS Sustainability Committee recently had the opportunity to speak with Edouard O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong branch & Head of Structured Finance Asia, Crédit Agricole CIB. Crédit Agricole CIB (CACIB) is a supporter of sustainability at FIS and will be sponsoring our upcoming solar panel project. Please read on to see what Edouard O’Neill has to say about how CACIB sees sustainability and climate action.

1- As an Investment Bank, what does sustainability and climate action mean to you? 

Climate change imposes financial risks on our clients, and decarbonisation has also become a material topic for many of them. On the other hand, sustainability is not just about reducing negative environmental impact, but also about creating new opportunities and growth paths for companies. Crédit Agricole CIB, being a client-centric bank, has been supporting its clients to navigate these challenges and opportunities.

2- What concrete measures and actions have Crédit Agricole CIB taken to address the issue of climate change mitigation?

Crédit Agricole CIB is a pioneer in supporting climate-friendly projects and in developing the sustainable finance market.

Our Group, as a member of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), is committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050.

Amongst many other sector commitments, we have implemented a scheduled phase-out from thermal coal in line with the Paris Agreement targets, and commit to providing a high level of transparency in terms of our coal exposure.

We will continue to support our clients in their energy transition and in their decarbonisation strategy. For us to be well-positioned to do that, we have and will continue to adapt our organisation to sustainable finance, including expanding our first-in-class Sustainable Investment Banking team in key geographies and sectors.

3- How do you measure the progress and impact of those actions?

We are one of the first global banks to track and measure the carbon footprint of our lending portfolio.

Through our Group, we are committed to setting medium term emission reduction targets in accordance with Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi)’s criteria and recommendations. The Group has also joined the NZBA to align the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our own financing and investment activities with a carbon neutrality trajectory by 2050.

4- What role do you play as an investment bank in supporting companies to reach net-zero carbon?

Banks are a key enabler and facilitator of corporate sustainable development through encouraging green financing activities both by tilting our lending portfolio towards green and away from carbon-intensive sectors and assets; and to facilitate the channelling of funds towards green sectors in the capital market.

Crédit Agricole CIB is actively engaged in advising our clients in the financing opportunities in their decarbonisation and sustainability journeys. We are also a leading advocate in developing the sustainable finance market with different stakeholders and in many governance work groups, for example, the Poseidon Principles for the shipping industry, the Aviation Climate-Aligned Finance Working Group for the Aviation industry, and recently the Sustainable STEEL Principles for the Iron & Steel market.

By joining hands with other signatory banks and institutions, we hope to support corporates on their low-carbon transition through capacity building and developing the necessary tools and standardised reporting frameworks in greenhouse emissions topics especially.

5- How are you contributing to the climate action movement in Hong Kong? Are there any specific areas or objectives that you are focusing on? 

Leveraging our local team’s expertise in Hong Kong which is also the headquarters for our Sustainable Investment Banking Asia Pacific team, Crédit Agricole CIB is committed to contributing to Hong Kong in maintaining its role as the global and regional sustainable finance centre.

We are the only French Cornerstone Member of the Alliance for Green Commercial Banks in Hong Kong of which its mission is to promote and enable green commercial banking practices in Asia Pacific.

Crédit Agricole CIB is the Joint Structuring Bank and a Joint Global Coordinator of the HKSAR Government Green Bond series since 2019, which serves not only to channel funding to Hong Kong’s net-zero ambitions, but also to set an important reference for the region.

6- CoP 27 has emphasised that 1.5C is increasingly out of reach. What message would you have for our young readers and future leaders?

Climate change is already happening and decarbonisation and adaptation are no longer an option but an emergency for countries, businesses and individuals. The future hinges on our choice today, and we need young leaders like yourselves to make conscious choices in supporting and advocating for a greener future.

Dr Martial Jaume
Sustainable Development Coordinator