Frankfurt / Main (dpa) - According to the wishes of banks from various camps, climate protection should be given more weight in loans and investments.

16 players in the German financial sector signed a commitment to align their loan and investment portfolios in line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

In the statement presented in Frankfurt on Tuesday, the signatories commit themselves "to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees and to strive for the 1.5 degree target" by financing the transformation towards a low-emission and climate-resilient economy and society.

Limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees above the pre-industrial level is at the heart of the Paris climate agreement of 2015. At that time, all states were jointly committed to climate protection, meanwhile the US government of President Donald Trump has terminated the agreement. Many experts now believe that even greater efforts are necessary to contain the global greenhouse effect and limit climate change.

The banks' initiative, which was promoted by the alternative bank Triodos and the WWF, has so far been supported by the large private banks Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, the direct bank ING Germany, the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW), GLS Bank and Umweltbank and the Evangelische Bank. The 16 signatories, according to the information, manage more than 5.5 trillion euros in assets and together have more than 46 million customer connections in Germany.

The voluntary commitment documents “the importance of climate change for all houses,” said Triodos Germany boss Georg Schürmann. "The topic has reached the breadth of the German financial industry." Deutsche Bank representative Gerald Podobnik confirmed that it is important that Germany "act together as a financial center" on this future topic.

By the end of 2022 at the latest, the institutes want to develop and introduce mutually accepted methods for measuring the climate impact of their respective loan and investment holdings. Annual progress reports have been agreed.

The Urgewald initiative misses clearly formulated requirements. The banks' intention was “good and necessary,” commented Urgewald representative Kathrin Petz. However, it is more than questionable whether the banks will achieve the targets with the voluntary commitment. "Every institute is free to choose the area in which it suspects the greatest impact and wants to be active," said Petz. Urgewald demanded that the federal government should use its six-month EU presidency starting on Wednesday (July 1st) "to set climate guidelines for the financial sector at EU level".

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200630-99-616753 / 2

Communication on climate agreement

Triodos press page

Commitment and overview of the signatories

EU on the Paris 2015 climate agreement

Federal Environment Ministry on the Paris Climate Agreement 2015

Urgewald reaction