kate langan anz
Kate Langan, ANZ

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) has become the latest Australian signatory of The Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, joining the likes of Atlassian and Bank Australia in the global transition to a zero carbon grid.

The move drew praise from high profile Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, who said the ANZ’s commitment was “awesome”.

The announcement was made as 130 global banks controlling US$47 trillion in assets committed to massively” scaling up their contribution to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals.

In Australia, the Melbourne headquartered ANZ has committed to sourcing 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

The pledge came with the organisation becoming a member of RE100 – a global corporate leadership initiative led by international non-profit The Climate Group in partnership with global disclosure network CDP (previously the Carbon Disclosure Project).

Launched at Climate Week NYC 2014, the RE100 initiative now has more than 200 members, including other Australian companies such as Atlassian, Bank Australia, Commonwealth Bank, QBE and Westpac. Each of these members has pledged to transition to 100 per cent renewably sources energy by 2050 at the latest, as per the initiative’s requirements.

ANZ said it would make this transition by expanding its use of corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs). It currently has one active PPA in Victoria, which was established in 2017.

“Future plans include signing additional PPAs for wind and solar energy (partnering with customers where possible),” it said in a statement, “and increasing installations of onsite solar panels.”

Group general manager property for ANZ Kate Langan said the decision to reduce the company’s environmental footprint was in line with its wholistic focus on environmental sustainability.

“Moving to 100 per cent renewable energy for our electricity by 2025 not only makes good business sense, it is good for the planet and reflects our ongoing support for the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” she said.

“Awesome” leadership

Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes praised ANZ’s commitment, calling it an “awesome” move.

“They are showing genuine leadership on an issue that’s vital to the future of our planet,” he said. “I’ve said many times, renewable energy is cleaner, cheaper and faster. And it represents the biggest economic opportunity of our generation.

“It’s not good enough just to talk about this,” he added, “we must back our words with action. So it’s awesome to see ANZ sign up to go 100 per cent renewable.”

By signing up to the collective initiative, ANZ, Atlassian and fellow RE100 members could contribute to an equivalent CO2 emissions savings of 27 US coal fired power stations each year, according to The Climate Group.

In New York the commitment from the major banks was part of the launch of the Principles for Responsible Banking, ahead of the Climate Action Summit.

A joint media statement from the banks said “only in an inclusive society founded on human dignity, equality and the sustainable use of natural resources” could their clients, customers and businesses thrive.

The statement said: The Principles are supported by a strong implementation framework that defines clear accountabilities and requires each bank to set, publish and work towards ambitious targets.

“By creating a common framework that guides banks in growing their business and reducing risks through supporting the economic and social transformation required for a sustainable future, the Principles pave the way for the transformation to a sustainable banking industry.

“A banking industry that plans for the risks associated with climate change and other environmental challenges can not only drive the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, it can benefit from it,” said Inger Andersen,

Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “When the financial system shifts its capital away from resource-hungry, brown investments to those that back nature as solution, everybody wins in the long-term.”

But Christiana Figueres, Convener, Mission 2020, said an additional investment of at least US$60 trillion from now until 2050 was needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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