Bankrolling Extinction

Report names HSBC and Barclays among top 10 banks financing biodiversity loss

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 29 October 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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In 2019, 50 global banks provided loans and underwriting of more than $2.6 trillion (more than the GDP of Canada) to economic sectors scientists and governments agree are primary drivers of biodiversity loss.

None of the banks assessed had chosen to put sufficient systems in place to monitor or measure the impact of their loans on biodiversity loss, nor do they have comprehensive policies to halt it. 


Loans to damaging sectors

This is the first time that loans and underwriting from some of the world’s largest banks to companies operating in economic sectors which governments and scientists agree are the primary drivers of biodiversity destruction have been quantified.  

Bankrolling Extinction finds that over the course of 2019, 50 global banks together provided loans and underwriting worth more than $2.6 trillion to the food, forestry, mining, fossil fuels, infrastructure, tourism and transport and logistics sectors, all of which have been identified as primary drivers of the global extinction crisis.

The report also finds that none of the banks have chosen to put comprehensive policies or sufficient systems in place to monitor or measure the impact of their loans on biodiversity.

Banks ranked

The 10 banks with the largest exposure to biodiversity destruction risks were Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Mizuho Financial, Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, HSBC, SMBC Group and Barclays.

On average, each of the 50 banks was linked to finance with biodiversity loss risk of $52 billion. 

With the species extinction rate at up to 10,000 times higher than the background rate and scientists warning of ‘biological annihilation’, Bankrolling Extinction shows how banks have largely evaded scrutiny on these issues and are playing a key role in a system that free rides on biodiversity, with the regulators and rules which govern them protecting them from the consequences.

The report states that the financial sector is bankrolling the mass extinction crisis, while undermining human rights and indigenous sovereignty.

Bankrolling Extinction is launched by collaborative group portfolio.earth, a collective of individuals working to take on the finance industry’s role in contributing to the destruction of nature.

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