As the impacts of climate change continue to grow in severity, focus has turned toward the climate change implications associated with the products and services of the financial sector. It is estimated that the indirect carbon emissions, which are caused in the financial sector by borrowers, investees and financed projects, are 50 to 200 times larger than the direct impacts of the financial sector. It is evident that a decarbonization strategy is needed for more than the fossil fuel industry and will require significant changes to most economic sectors.

This added focus toward the financial sector has led to demands for enhanced disclosure of climate change information with regard to financed clients and projects. However, there remains limited guidance in how the financial sector should disclose its carbon performance to its shareholders and stakeholders. This paper reviews the highlights from an empirical study that investigated the types of carbon performance voluntarily disclosed by banks and the type of carbon impact emissions disclosed. Policy recommendations are made that aim to facilitate and standardize disclosures. 

Part of Series

CIGI Papers present in-depth analysis and discussion on governance-related subjects. They include policy papers that present CIGI experts' positions or contributions to policy debates, and background papers that contain research findings, insights and data that contribute to the development of policy positions.
  • Zachary Folger-Laronde is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Waterloo in the Social and Ecological Sustainability program in the Faculty of Environment.

  • Olaf Weber is a CIGI senior fellow and an expert on sustainability and the banking sector. He is currently a professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo and a University of Waterloo Research Chair in Sustainable Finance.