Italian UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo join UN net zero banking alliance

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A UniCredit logo can be seen in downtown Rome on May 10, 2016. REUTERS / Tony Gentile

ROME, October 20 (Reuters) – Italian companies UniCredit (CRDI.MI) and Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) on Wednesday announced that they have joined the UN Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), a group of banks determined to reduce their carbon financing and investment portfolio by 2050.

The alliance, launched in April, has nearly 80 members from 35 countries, including Bank of America (BAC.N), Citigroup (CN), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and JPMorgan (JPM.N). It has $ 54 trillion in assets under management, or more than a third of global banking assets.

Italian lenders made their announcements ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, which begins on October 31.

Alliance members are required to submit science-based climate plans that cover all types of emissions, set interim targets for 2030, and publish emissions details annually. Banks have 18 months from signing to set their first targets.

UniCredit said it will give details of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, as part of its new business plan, at an investor day scheduled in the fourth quarter.

“This is an important moment in our journey towards a more sustainable future and it is a necessary action to attract attention and ultimately make significant progress in this area,” said UniCredit Managing Director Andrea Orcel, in a press release.

“To do otherwise would be irresponsible and run counter to the clients and clients we serve,” he said.

Intesa Sanpaolo said she would provide around 80 billion euros ($ 93 billion) to fund green and circular economy initiatives and for the ecological transition during the Italian national stimulus plan.

Director-General Carlo Messina said joining the alliance was “an important step on the way that commits Intesa Sanpaolo to new goals in the fight against climate change”.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Edmund Blair

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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