Sustainability
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3
 min read
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September 12, 2023

Opportunity or inconvenience? - Tracking carbon emissions in finance

It's 2023 and we're faced with a big question: Is carbon tracking in finance a good thing or just a hassle? While it's clear that tracking carbon emissions can't harm our mission to build a sustainable future, we still wonder how important it really is. Let's break it down, so we can figure out why it matters and how it can change the way finance contributes to sustainability.

According to a report by CDP, the GHG emissions associated with financial institutions' investing, lending, and underwriting activities are over 700 times higher than their direct emissions. This staggering statistic highlights the significant environmental impact of financial operations.

In finance, every decision carries weight and carbon tracking is not just a fancy term; it's something that can make finance more environmentally friendly.

Let's get right into it to understand what carbon tracking in finance is, why it's a big deal and how it can make finance more eco-conscious.

Understanding carbon tracking in finance

Carbon tracking in finance involves monitoring emissions across investment portfolios, lending practices, and operations. This includes activities such as assessing carbon footprints in fossil fuel investments and evaluating emissions from supply chains.

The goal is twofold: transparency in environmental impact and informed decision-making for sustainability. Let's take a closer look at how carbon tracking works in the financial sector:

  1. Portfolio Carbon Footprint: Financial professionals calculate the carbon emissions generated by the companies and assets within their investment portfolios which provides insight into the carbon intensity of their investments and helps identify high-emission sectors.
  2. Scenario Analysis: To assess climate risks, financial professionals use scenario analysis to model how their portfolios may be impacted by different climate-related scenarios. This allows them to stress-test their investments against potential climate shocks.
  3. Engagement and Divestment: Equipped with carbon tracking data, financial institutions can engage with high-emission companies to encourage sustainable practices. They can also choose to divest from companies that fail to align with environmental goals, reducing exposure to carbon-intensive assets.
  4. Green Finance: Many financial institutions are embracing green finance initiatives, where investments are directed towards projects and companies with strong environmental credentials. Carbon tracking plays a crucial role in identifying these opportunities and monitoring their impact.

Why carbon tracking matters in finance

Let's answer this: Why should finance professionals care about tracking carbon emissions? Well, it's not merely about measuring emissions; it's about using that information to drive positive change and contribute to a more sustainable future. Here are some reasons why carbon tracking is essential:

  1. Risk Management: Finance is all about managing risks. Carbon tracking helps financial institutions spot environmental risks. That's important because unusual weather, resource shortages, and new regulations can impact financial stability.
  2. Investor Demands: Investors are increasingly interested in environmental impacts. When financial institutions use carbon tracking, it signals to investors that they're environmentally responsible. This can attract eco-conscious investors and align financial interests with sustainability.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: Governments are tightening rules on carbon emissions. Financial institutions must comply with these regulations, and carbon tracking is essential for monitoring and reporting emissions accurately to avoid legal and reputational risks.
  4. Cost Efficiency: Being eco-friendly can also save money. By tracking and reducing carbon emissions, financial institutions can identify areas where cost savings are possible, leading to increased efficiency and profitability.
  5. New Opportunities: As the world shifts towards a low-carbon economy, new market opportunities arise. Financial institutions that understand carbon tracking can identify and invest in these growth areas, positioning themselves as leaders in the evolving market.

In essence, carbon tracking in finance isn't just a good idea; it's a necessity. It helps finance professionals adapt to a changing world, mitigate risks, attract investors, and play a pivotal role in building a sustainable future. So let's try and be more eco-friendly with all the financial decisions that we make and play our part in making finance more eco-conscious.

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