Despite much green talk, just two of the UK's 36 main banks can clearly demonstrate effective plans to reduce their carbon impacts in a timely manner, claims research from the Ethical Consumer magazine.
The magazine investigated the climate strategy of UK lenders before awarding them a 'worst', 'middle', or 'best' rating for carbon management and reporting.
Just two of the 36 banks covered in the research, the green-focused Triodos Bank and the Ecology Building Society, bet a 'best' rating. Both lenders report their carbon emissions, including those of their loans and investments, using the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials methodology.
Ethical Consumer accuses others, including Citi and Bank of Ireland, of "fine words" while struggling to "get to grips with the immensity of the task".
Some banks are more specific, giving future targets for when their measurements might be complete. NatWest’s is one of the most ambitious, stating that it aims "to quantify our climate impact and set sector-specific targets by 2022".
However, the Co-operative Bank is the only big player to explicitly rule out financing all new fossil fuel projects in the future.
Rob Harrison, editor, Ethical Consumer, says: "Why would you be investing in new coal or gas plants in 2020? Infrastructure like this is normally planned to be operating for up to 40 years. This seems to make no sense if we have a collective target of getting to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 - which is now only twenty years away."