A new report launched today by the Toxic Bonds and Bank on our Future campaigns shows banks have underwritten $2.7 trillion of fossil fuel bonds since the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement - offering critical lifeblood to fossil fuel companies. The report reveals that underwriting bonds for fossil fuel companies is a glaring loophole in banks’ net-zero targets and needs greater scrutiny.
Despite international climate initiatives such as the Net Zero Banking Alliance, many major banks' existing climate and fossil fuel policies and targets contain loopholes, either by excluding underwriting or only applying to new clients. This allows toxic bonds to slip through the net.
The report calls into question why banks continue the practice, given the outsized reputational risk and impact on the planet, and calls for greater scrutiny on underwriting every time a bank publishes a new policy or target.
Banks must include underwriting in addition to lending in all climate policies and financed emissions reduction targets, as well as urgently cease underwriting bonds for coal, oil and gas expansionists.
Update 13/07/2022 upon release it was brought to our attention that an interpretation of one of the tables in the original report is incorrect. The version here is now updated.