Prince William: Banks must do more to protect the environment

The Duke of Cambridge has urged banks to “invest in nature” to help fight global climate change.

Speaking at an IMF and World Bank meeting, Prince William said protecting nature continued to play only a small part in combating global warming. He said investing in reforestation and sustainable agriculture were “cost-effective” ways of tackling the issue.

Banks have come under increasing pressure to step up efforts to help fight climate change. Just this week, Barclays’ London headquarters was the target of a protest staged by climate activist group Extinction Rebellion. Members held placards and broke several windows as they called on the bank to stop financing fossil fuel companies.

Addressing central bankers and finance ministers at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, the duke said the world’s natural habitats continue to decline at an “alarming rate”.

The duke’s comments come amid growing pressure from shareholders on banks to take a tougher stance on climate change.

HSBC announced last month it would stop financing coal projects across the EU by 2030, and all other markets by 2040, following pressure from a coalition of investment firms. Shareholders at Barclays are set to table a resolution at the bank’s upcoming annual general meeting calling on the bank to phase out financing for coal, oil, and gas companies.

Meanwhile, a group of central banks is reviewing ways to use monetary policy to tackle climate change. Options include greener asset purchases and lending schemes, according to a report by the Network for Greening the Financial System.


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