Singapore’s largest lender DBS is on track to meet its decarbonization targets in seven of nine priority carbon-intensive sectors named as part of its commitment to being net zero in its financed emissions by 2050.
The sectors in which the bank is “on track” to meet its targets are power, oil and gas, automotive, aviation, real estate, food and agriculture, and chemical, the bank notes in its recently published sustainability report, the first since the bank announced a plethora of decarbonization targets last year. As well, the bank is “almost on track” in the steel sector, but “not on track” in shipping.
Last September, the bank rolled out a number of strategies by which it aims to reach net zero by 2050, with the key plan of attack being a targeting of the most carbon-intensive institutional segments financed by the bank, across industries that represent 31% of its outstanding loans, but which constitute the vast majority of the institutional banking unit’s financed emissions.
The bank’s key sustainability highlights in 2022 include the approval of S$900 million (US$664 million) in unsecured loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the region to address their unmet working capital needs, with over 98% going to micro and small businesses.
Also, the bank in 2022 engaged one million customers in Singapore through LiveBetter, a one-stop digital sustainability platform, through which customers invested S$8 million in green funds and donated over S$700,000 towards environmental and social causes.
The lender, the report notes, achieved carbon neutrality in its own operations at the end of 2022, with DBS Newton Green, Singapore’s first net-zero building by a bank, achieving net zero within three months of its opening.
And with regard to the bank’s social and sustainability efforts, the report shares that DBS established a new Community Impact Chapter under the DBS Foundation, with S$5.6 million committed across 10 inaugural programmes to enhance financial and digital literacy and to reduce food waste.
Piyush Gupta, DBS Group Holdings’ CEO, says: “Banks have a critical role to play in mobilizing capital to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.”