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Banks talk a big game when it comes to their climate commitments, but when you scratch beneath the surface, actions don’t always match ambition. 

In this Australian-first benchmark of banks' climate commitments, we go into the details to uncover which are leading and which are lagging behind. Read for yourself and make sure the banks see it too.

Send them our report and tell banks you won't sit back while they profit from the climate crisis, from families devastated by floods, from koalas becoming endangered from bushfires.

They need to hear it. This is the decade we must shift away from the carbon-intensive economy and that decision sits with the banks. What we fund now is the future we're creating.

Banks are powerful players in our economy – behind nearly every home loan, business, major infrastructure project, or other development is a bank financing the activity. They decide what projects get financed, and which don’t – from big polluting coal power stations to world-leading renewable energy projects – and in doing so, shape the future of Australia. Together we can push our banks to help create a sustainable economy and a thriving future for everyone and everything we love.

By comparing the banks for what they actually do rather than what they say, we can show them the road map to a world where money is used so nature and people thrive and create some healthy competition between them to speed things along. There's no time to waste. Write to the banks today.

  • ANZ

    34.7

    ANZ is the biggest climate laggard of Australia’s largest banks. It continues to fund companies that are opening new coal, oil, and gas projects, some which will remain open past 2050. ANZ has not assessed the risks that climate change poses to its business and the people and businesses ANZ lends to, and lacks sufficient climate change expertise at a board level.

    Call on ANZ to stop funding companies building new and expansionary coal, oil and gas projects!

    • Targets13.2
    • Strategy & action5
    • Reporting9.5
    • Governance7
  • Macquarie Bank Group

    46.02

    Macquarie deserves credit for being the only bank that will not lend money to companies building new coal mines, but still funds companies that are expanding oil and gas projects. It is the only bank which does not disclose its target to fund solutions to climate damage, and has not included information on how climate change could impact the bank in its auditor’s report.

    Call on Macquarie Group to extend its coal ban to oil and gas!

    • Targets12.2
    • Strategy & action7.5
    • Reporting9
    • Governance17.32
  • Westpac

    46.94

    Westpac has said it will not directly finance new oil and gas projects that are out of line with the International Energy Agency's net zero road map, but has not yet adopted a waterproof policy to restrict lending to coal, oil and gas expansion, and has not included information on how climate change could impact the bank in its auditor's report.

    Call on Westpac to strengthen its policies and truly ban funding to new and expansionary coal, oil and gas!

    • Targets14.2
    • Strategy & action3.75
    • Reporting11.67
    • Governance17.32
  • NAB

    55.04

    While NAB says that it will not lend to new coal projects directly, it still provides finance and other banking support to companies who are opening new or expanded coal, oil and gas projects. However, it does include information on how climate change could impact the bank in its auditor’s report.

    Call on NAB to strengthen its policies and truly ban funding to new and expansionary coal, oil and gas!

    • Targets13.7
    • Strategy & action7.5
    • Reporting13.84
    • Governance20
  • Commbank

    62.04

    Commbank has carried out detailed climate risk assessments, provides some incentives for executives to manage climate change risks seriously, and requires its business customers to have a transition plan by 2025 aligned with well below two degrees. However, its policies still allow lending to companies which expand coal, oil and gas production, and its customer transition plan assessment is not aligned with 1.5 degrees.

    Call on Commbank to halt funding companies which expand coal, oil and gas production!

    • Targets14.2
    • Strategy & action12.5
    • Reporting15.34
    • Governance20

How our banks can become climate leaders, not laggards

We’ve researched the major banks across Australia to uncover the true story behind their public commitments. Our methodology scores banks across four key areas:

Targets Strategy & Action Governance Reporting

Targets

Cutting pollution rapidly this decade (ranked out of 21 points)

The largest five banks in Australia have all made a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. But the climate crisis requires big cuts in pollution this decade. Every step banks take today to combat greenhouse gas emissions matters more than their actions in one or two decades.

This section evaluates the actions banks have committed to take during this critical decade, examining the strength of the 2025 and 2030 targets that banks have in place to support their 2050 net-zero commitments. It analyses whether banks have set a comprehensive short-term emissions reduction target and targets for the polluting industries they finance. It also assesses the actions that banks are taking to support and fund solutions to drive down emissions such as renewable energy and whether banks have set an ambitious target to source the majority of their electricity from renewable energy sources. 

How the banks perform on their targets:

  • 13.2 \ 21

    ANZ

    ANZ has set 2030 emission reduction targets for oil and gas, power generation, aluminium, cement, steel and commercial real estate. ANZ must strengthen its short-term targets by including other polluting sectors and extending them to cover all banking services, as well as adopting a portfolio-wide 2030 target. It currently sources only 39% of its energy from renewable sources, while three of their peers already source 100% of their energy from renewables .

  • 12.2 \ 21

    Macquarie Bank Group

    Macquarie has set 2024 coal-phase out target and has set 2030 targets to reduce pollution from oil and gas and motor vehicles. Macquarie must strengthen its targets by extending them to cover all polluting sectors and all banking services. Macquarie does not yet have a portfolio-wide target, and does not yet have a sustainable finance target. Macquarie currently sources 100% of its electricity for its own operations from renewable energy sources.

  • 14.2 \ 21

    Westpac

    Westpac has committed to phase out finance for thermal coal by 2030 and has set pollution reduction targets for oil and gas exploration and production, power generation, cement and Australian commercial real estate.  Westpac should improve the integrity of its targets by extending them to cover all banking services, and include other polluting sectors. Westpac does not yet have a portfolio-wide target. Westpac already sources 100% of its energy for its own operations from renewable sources.

  • 13.7 \ 21

    NAB

    NAB has set 2030 targets for thermal coal, oil and gas, power generation and cement, but these only cover its lending activities. NAB could improve the integrity of its targets by extending them to cover all banking services, and include other polluting sectors. NAB does not yet have a short-term emission-reduction target to cover all of its activities. NAB currently sources 72% of its energy from renewable sources.

  • 14.2 \ 21

    Commbank

    Commbank has set 2030 targets for power generation, thermal coal mining and upstream oil and gas mining, aluminium, cement, residential real estate and steel, but these only cover its lending activities. Commbank should improve the integrity of its targets by extending them to cover all banking services, and adopt targets for other polluting sectors. It does not yet have a portfolio-wide target. Commbank sources 100% of its electricity for its operations from renewable energy sources.

Strategy & action

How the banks actually drive down pollution (ranked out of 35 points)

Strategy and action measures the real world policies and practices’ that banks have in place to achieve their short and long-term commitments to reach net-zero emissions. Banks lost significant points in this section for their continued financing of new or expanded coal, oil or gas production and deforestation. In order to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, we need to have policies and processes right now which end the flow of money to climate-wrecking industries – commitments to take action in the future are not enough.

This section also assesses whether banks require their customers to adopt a transition plan that is aligned with a 1.5°C pathway and whether banks provide transparency on how they assess the credibility of these transition plans. How banks will assess the credibility of their customers' transition plans is incredibly important, as there exists a great deal of variability in the strength and integrity of companies’ plans to reach net zero, with many companies lacking ambition.  It also scores banks based on whether they have a policy against deforestation, as protecting and restoring nature is critical for a safe climate.

How the banks perform on their strategy and action:

  • 5 \ 35

    ANZ

    ANZ does not provide direct finance to new thermal coal projects but has not yet ruled out finance to companies building new coal, oil or gas projects or expansions. ANZ requires only its 100 most polluting customers to adopt a transition plan by 2025, but it is not yet clear how these plans are assessed, or the consequences of failing to have a plan. ANZ does not have a policy on deforestation.

  • 7.5 \ 35

    Macquarie Bank Group

    Macquarie is the only one of the big five banks to rule out lending to companies building new coal mines but does not have an equivalent policy for oil and gas projects. Unlike the other big 5, Macquarie does not require its customers to develop transition plans. It also does not have a policy on deforestation.

  • 3.75 \ 35

    Westpac

    Westpac says it will only directly finance new oil and gas projects that are consistent with the International Energy Agency roadmap, but has not yet ruled out providing finance to companies building new or expanded coal, oil or gas projects. Westpac also expects its customers to have credible transition plans by 2025 but does not define how it assesses transition plans or the consequences for failing to have a plan. Westpac does not have a policy on deforestation. 

  • 7.5 \ 35

    NAB

    NAB does not provide direct finance to new thermal coal projects or new oil projects, but it has not yet ruled out finance to companies building new coal, oil or gas projects or expansions. NAB requires customers in some polluting industries to adopt a transition plan by 2025, but it is not yet clear how these plans are assessed or the consequences of failing to have a plan. NAB does not have a policy on deforestation. 

  • 12.5 \ 35

    Commbank

    Commbank states that it will not provide direct finance to new thermal coal projects and expansions, but its policy allows Commbank to lend money to companies who are building new or expanded coal projects. Commbank has a policy limiting finance for new oil and gas projects, but no policy restricting finance to companies involved in oil and gas expansion. While Commbank has said it requires its customers to have a transition plan in place by 2025 and has detailed how it will assess these plans, it has not detailed the consequences of failing to adopt a transition plan. The bank does not have a policy on deforestation.

Banks are powerful players in our economy. Behind nearly every home loan, business, major infrastructure project, or other development is a bank financing the activity. They decide what projects get financed and which don’t and, in doing so, shape the future of Australia. 

Governance

Making business leaders accountable (ranked out of 28 points)

When it comes to any topic, it is very important that leaders hold relevant expertise, have high quality information to effectively manage risk, and that responsibilities are clearly allocated to ensure accountability. It is also important that leaders have incentives in place to ensure that they are motivated to perform their best. 

This section analyses the governance structures that banks have in place to inform and execute their net zero commitment. It assesses whether banks have adequate information to guide decision-making and whether there is clear accountability for climate related topics. It also assesses whether the leaders of the banks have the relevant skills needed to effectively manage climate-related risks and if they are appropriately incentivised to manage the risks to the best of their ability.

How the banks perform on their governance:

  • 7 \ 28

    ANZ

    ANZ states  that climate change is a board-level priority, but lacks climate expertise on its board and there is no evidence that management has incentives to meet climate change targets. Concerningly, there is no evidence that ANZ has conducted its own scenario analysis to determine the impacts of climate change and the energy transition on the bank. ANZ could improve its score by engaging more actively in climate change policy and conducting an annual review of its industry association memberships.

  • 17.32 \ 28

    Macquarie Bank Group

    Macquarie has made climate risk management a board-level priority. The group has disclosed details of its risk assessments for climate change and the energy transition, although it is yet to quantify the likely impacts of climate change on the business and its customers. Macquarie could improve its score by linking a proportion of executive pay to achieving climate targets and engaging more actively in climate change policy, including through an annual review of its industry association memberships.

  • 17.32 \ 28

    Westpac

    Westpac has made climate risk management a board-level priority. The bank has disclosed details on its risk assessments for climate change and the energy transition. Westpac could improve its score by linking a proportion of executive pay to achieving climate targets and engaging more actively in climate change policy, including through an annual review of its industry association memberships.

  • 20 \ 28

    NAB

    NAB has made climate risk management a board-level priority. The bank has disclosed details on its risk assessments for climate change and the energy transition. NAB could improve its score by linking a proportion of executive pay to achieving climate targets and engaging more actively in climate change policy, including through an annual review of its industry association memberships.

  • 20 \ 28

    Commbank

    Commbank has made climate risk management a board-level priority and has disclosed details on its risk assessments for climate change and the energy transition. Commbank could improve its score by linking a proportion of executive pay to achieving climate targets and engaging more actively in climate change policy, including through an annual review of its industry association memberships.

Reporting

How we know what’s actually happening (ranked out of 16 points)

Disclosing information transparently and consistently is essential for comparing the performance of banks. In Australia, we don’t yet have mandatory climate-related financial reporting, so banks report varying levels of information and in different ways. 

This section assesses whether banks comprehensively disclose their financed emissions, provide transparency on the method used in their calculation and whether they obtain a third party opinion on their sustainability reporting. It also assesses whether the risks of climate change have been taken into consideration in the audit of the banks’ financial statements and whether banks have provided a list of activities that are eligible for financing based on their contribution to positive social or environmental outcomes.

How the banks perform on their reporting:

  • 9.5 \ 16

    ANZ

    ANZ reports its financed emissions for a portion of its loan book, but these do not cover all the activities of the bank, and the bank does not provide a breakdown of its financed emissions for all emissions intensive sectors, which reduces accountability. ANZ includes polluting gas projects as part of its sustainable finance portfolio, and unlike many of its peers does not consider how climate change could impact the company in its audited financial statements.

  • 9 \ 16

    Macquarie Bank Group

    Macquarie has disclosed financed emissions for some polluting sectors, but this has not been done across Macquarie’s entire portfolio. Whilst Macquarie has not set a climate solutions financing target, the group has disclosed types of activities that qualify for financing. Macquarie is not yet including the impacts of climate change in its audited financial statements.

  • 11.67 \ 16

    Westpac

    Westpac has disclosed its financed emissions for most of its lending portfolio, but could improve on this by disclosing financed emissions for all of the significant financial services that it offers. Westpac does not require its auditor to consider the impacts of climate change in its audited financial statements.

  • 13.84 \ 16

    NAB

    NAB has disclosed its financed emissions for most of its lending portfolio, but could improve on this by disclosing financed emissions for all of the significant financial services that it offers. NAB could also specify that its sustainable finance explicitly excludes gas.

  • 15.34 \ 16

    Commbank

    Commbank has disclosed its financed emissions for most of its lending portfolio, achieving close to full points on this indicator. Commbank could improve on this by disclosing financed emissions for all of the significant financial services that it offers.

Demand leadership from our banks for a safe climate

What our banks choose to fund now is the future they’re creating for all of us. Whether you’re a customer or someone concerned for the planet, they need to hear from you because this concerns all of us and the people and places we love.

Public pressure from bank customers has already started moving the money towards climate solutions. Paired with an industry that wants to avoid risk or being burdened with the costs of climate damage, the conditions are just right to ramp up public pressure on our banks to support a healthy future for the oceans, forests, wetlands, wildlife, people and communities we love.

Write to the worst bank Download report

Learn more about the scoring criteria used for this analysis by downloading the breakdowns in excel or PDF formats.