Unbridled production combined with a consumer society: pollution is getting out of hand and the waste mountain is steadily growing. The consequences for our planet and its climate are now becoming very tangible. But together with that mountain of waste, the awareness that we must turn the tide is also increasing.
It was in this context that Earth Day was established 51 years ago now. This day is celebrated annually on 22 April, and aims to make us aware of our behaviour and the consequences of that behaviour for our planet. Climate action is one of its key themes.
Many countries are convinced of the need to tackle the climate problem. 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015. The European Union aims to be the first continent to become climate neutral by 2050.
Ambitious but necessary goals that will require immense efforts from everyone.
In the meantime, quite a number of companies are jumping on the bandwagon. KBC group has set itself the following ambitious goals for 2030:
- A reduction in the company's own CO2 emissions of 80% (rather than 65%) compared to their 2015 reference year level. KBC group is set to achieve climate neutrality by the end of 2021 by focussing on teleworking and green mobility, and by offsetting the balance.
- 100% of the power consumption to come from green electricity.
- 65% of lending to the energy sector to go to renewable energy projects.
- No more financing of projects linked to coal, including in the Czech Republic where this is still a major source of energy.
KBC group also signed the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, an initiative of the United Nations. The aim is to promote the greening of the economy and to limit global warming to 1.5°C in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
Following on from that Collective Commitment is Climate Action 100+, a global initiative led by asset managers, to which KBC Asset Management, the asset manager of KBC, has signed up. This initiative sets out to raise awareness of climate change among the 100+ most pollution-emitting companies and to engage with them to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement.
With this, KBC AM, together with other asset managers, is encouraging companies to develop climate policies in order to restrict their CO2 emissions as well as to communicate transparently about their actions.
Banks and asset managers can make their mark by solely investing in those companies that meet our strict sustainability criteria. As investor, you too can also make your voice heard. Together we can turn the tide.