Westpac commits to a decade of transition

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In a case of fourth-time-lucky, Westpac has published its fourth Climate Change Position Statement and Action Plan, setting out its plans to withdraw from thermal coal investment by 2030 and support all its own services with 100% renewable energy. 

Westpac is kicking off the decade with the aim to provide $3.5 billion of new lending over the next three years, and $15 billion over the next 10 years, to climate change solutions. Like the other ‘Big 4’ banks, Westpac is looking to right its reputation tarnished in the Royal Banking Commission. To that end, Westpac is promising to provide lending to the increasingly profitable clean industries, which is to say, money Westpac would’ve happily lent anyway but can now claim to do so as an ethical venture. 

Nevertheless, Westpac is committing to Paris 2050 targets and has sett its own ambitions for the coming decade. This includes the gradual withdrawal from its thermal coal interests, and the sourcing of the equivalent of 100% of the company’s global electricity consumption through renewables by 2025. 

“…We must clearly set out expectations for our customers,” says Westpac, “recognising that our financing activity must align with activities that support efforts to keeping a global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” 

To that end, Westpac will continue to support its existing thermal coal customers but with the aim of reducing its fossil-fuel exposure by 2030. To that end, the bank is promising not to establish relationships with new thermal coal customers, although it says nothing of plans to exit oil and gas. 

Over the next decade, Westpac will look to continue to reduce its own emissions and offset the rest. Its Scope 1 and 2 emissions are to be reduced from their 2016 base by 85% by 2025 and 90% by 2030. Its Scope 3 emissions, its supply chain emissions, are set to be reduced by 35% by 2030. 

Already Westpac signed a PPA with the 120 MW Bomen Solar Farm in NSW as it looks to offset 100% of its global emissions with renewables by 2025.