Banking

JPMorgan embarks on $2.5 trillion climate, sustainability effort

JPMorgan Chase set a goal to finance $2.5 trillion in initiatives that combat climate change and advance sustainable development, amid a push by U.S. banks to step up their environmental and social activities.

The bank’s commitment spanning the next 10 years will include $1 trillion of financing for projects that bolster cleaner energy sources, it said Thursday. JPMorgan will also fund transactions that support socioeconomic development in developing countries as well as initiatives that advance economic inclusion in communities such as affordable housing and health care.

The largest U.S. bank joins rival Bank of America in boosting financing for projects that advance a low-carbon economy amid calls by the White House for businesses to do more to curb pollution. Eliminating emissions has become a major talking point for bank executives this year as the finance industry attracted greater scrutiny for funding the world’s biggest emitters. Goldman Sachs Group, Citigroup and Bank of America have all set net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions targets in their financing activities.

“Climate change and inequality are two of the critical issues of our time, and these new efforts will help create sustainable economic development that leads to a greener planet and critical investments in underserved communities,” Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, said in a press release. “Business, government and policy leaders must work together to support long-term solutions that advance economic inclusion, bolster sustainable development and further the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Still, JPMorgan remains the biggest funder of fossil-fuel companies globally, financing about $189 billion since the 2015 Paris climate agreement, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Dimon wrote in his annual shareholder letter last week that “the solution is not as simple as walking away from fossil fuels.”

‘Amibitious announcement’

JPMorgan had teased the announcement Wednesday when Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Piepszak told analysts during an earnings call that it was planning an “ambitious announcement” about its efforts in the environmental, social and governance space.

In its plan released Thursday, JPMorgan said the $2.5 trillion commitment will also enable it to provide clients in the corporate & investment bank and commercial banking businesses with centralized access to sustainability-focused financing, research and advisory solutions. The $1 trillion for green initiatives will include renewable energy and clean technologies.

“It is important to set expectations around where we want to see our clients’ emissions head over the next 10 years, but it’s also really important that we support them in their low-carbon transition,” Marisa Buchanan, JPMorgan’s global head of sustainability, said in an interview. “That means coming to the table with capital.”

In 2020, JPMorgan facilitated $220 billion of financing to drive action on climate change and sustainable development, including over $55 billion toward green initiatives, according to the press release.



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