This page provides highlights of our benchmarking of climate-related disclosures included in the 2021 annual reports of 35 major global banks. The banks have made significant commitments to green or sustainable financing, with some banks earmarking billions of dollars over the coming years for such projects. However, in 2021 we have not yet seen these products impacting financial statement disclosures, such as those on accounting policies and estimation uncertainty or financial instruments.
Most banks have a climate strategy centred on becoming a net-zero bank by 2050 or earlier. They are focused on achieving net zero financed emissions and operational emissions. Most of these banks disclose that they have aligned their net-zero commitments with the goals of the Paris Agreement — the international treaty on climate change adopted in 2015.
Eighty-six percent of the banks disclose information on their climate strategy in the annual reports. However, many of these disclosures are not very detailed. What is apparent is that most of the banks are continuing to commit large amounts to green or sustainable financing. This often appears as the focal point of their climate strategy. Yet, banks with disclosures that have been assessed as 'more detailed' and 'less detailed' seem to have a less apparent perception of climate-related opportunities in the medium to long term.
Without this information, it is often challenging for users of the annual reports to assess how robust their strategies are.
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Read our benchmarking analysis on how banks reported on climate-related matters in the 2021 reporting season. The report includes the scope and approach of our analysis, and how we have assessed the disclosures as ‘more detailed’, ‘less detailed’ or ‘no disclosures’ provided.