Among the 20 banks assessed in the Net Zero Momentum Tracker banking sector report, the largest four banks – ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac – hold over 80 per cent of total resident assets reported by Australian banking institutions and almost 90 per cent of the resident assets reported by institutions included in this study. Furthermore, these four banks are responsible for 78 per cent of the sample’s reported operational emissions – although ANZ, NAB and Westpac collectively offset 76 per cent of these emissions.

The ‘big four’ have made strong commitments regarding their operational emissions. For example, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB have committed to source 100 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources through the RE100 initiative.

Additionally, ANZ, NAB and Westpac offset their operational emissions and are certified by the NCOS standard. Steps by the big four banks to address emissions from their investment and lending activities are much less comprehensive.

Although all four of these banks have publicly stated their support for the Paris Climate Agreement, they are yet to demonstrate this support through net zero targets that address all operational, investment and lending activities.

  • Westpac is the only bank of the big four to publicly commit through SBTi to set targets aligned with net zero emissions by 2050. In 2020, SBTi will require financial institutions to set targets consistent with  the Paris Climate Agreement for investment and lending activities. Westpac assisted with development of the methodology SBTi is drafting for this purpose.
  • Since the Net Zero Momentum Tracker banking sector report was published, NAB has committed to align its portfolios with the goals of the Paris Agreement by signing the Collective Commitment on Climate Change.
  • In December 2017, NAB became the first of the big four to rule out lending to any new thermal coal mining projects. The other banks have since made commitments to limit lending to coal mining or coal fired power generation.
  • Commonwealth Bank has an aspiration to align its business lending portfolio ‘with a net zero economy by 2050’. It is also the only one of these four banks that has carried out its own internal assessment of financed emissions and has publicly disclosed these.
  • ANZ has developed a project finance policy that links interest rates to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.