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Banks are finally starting to account for climate change risk

Bloomberg
Bloomberg9/13/2019 07:00 AM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Banks are finally starting to account for climate change risk
SINGAPORE (Sept 16): Behind the scenes at some of the world’s biggest banks, small teams of employees are busy trying to calculate what might prove to be one of the most important numbers any financial institution will ever disclose: how much the assets
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SINGAPORE (Sept 16): Behind the scenes at some of the world’s biggest banks, small teams of employees are busy trying to calculate what might prove to be one of the most important numbers any financial institution will ever disclose: how much the assets on their balance sheet are contributing to global warming.

One of those people is Kaitlin Crouch at ING Groep. For the past five years, she has been dissecting transactions — from corporate loans to residential mortgages — to test ways of measuring the Dutch lender’s overall carbon footprint.

It is an elusive figure. Data provided by the bank’s clients, which range from automakers to energy producers, is often inaccurate, and it is possible to double or triple count the same emissions when different parts of the bank work with the same client. “It quickly becomes a very daunting and sometimes demotivating topic once you start to understand the level of complexity,” Crouch says.

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