Europe’s largest banks are failing to take the global biodiversity crisis seriously by not considering financial risks from nature loss.
The claim, by responsible investment charity ShareAction, follows its assessment of Europe’s 25 largest consumer banks in responding to the climate and nature crises.
The charity assessed banks on, among other things, their climate-related governance, their measurement of risks and opportunities, and whether their key targets were science based.
The average score, on ShareAction’s assessment scale, was 48% for climate action and 35% for biodiversity.
Europe’s banking sector is “only just waking up to the biodiversity crisis”, ShareAction warns, and the crisis is not a board-level priority at most firms. Targets aimed at protecting and restoring biodiversity are “almost non-existent”, with only three banks – ING, Société Générale and BNP Paribas – having an overarching commitment.
Most banks do not have their green-finance transactions externally audited and do not provide detailed disclosures in this business, the charity claims.
ShareAction calls on banks to treat nature loss “with the same urgency” as climate change and develop science-based targets backed by interim and sector-specific goals. Banks should also integrate biodiversity into their risk-management frameworks and reporting processes, it adds.