As a major financial institution, we believe we need to take a balanced, measured and responsible approach as we support the transition to a low-carbon economy. In the past few months, we have led a number of innovative projects that demonstrate that commitment:
1. We backed Australia’s biggest large-scale solar financing project.
We financed three new large-scale solar farms to be built in Australia, together with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and German bank NORD/LB. Once they’re fully operational they have the potential to produce enough electricity for around 87,000 homes.
2. We funded an exciting new wind farm in NSW.
Along with other financiers, we funded the largest wind farm in NSW and one of the largest in Australia. The Sapphire Wind Farm will generate enough energy to keep the power flowing into 100,000 households. This power generation alone will offset more than 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
3. We’ve increased our exposure to renewable energy generation by more than a third in just one year.
As of December 2016 our exposure to renewable energy generation was $2.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion just 12 months prior.
4. We launched innovative products with a clean and green focus.
In March, we launched our first climate bond, which is backed by more than $1 billion of Australian eligible renewable and low-carbon projects.
Each of these projects is certified by the Climate Bond Initiative (CBI) and the bond will be independently audited by Ernst & Young each year. All the funds raised by the bond issuance are to be reinvested in renewable and low-carbon assets.
5. It’s not just the major projects, we’re taking action at a branch level too.
We’re enabling our network of branches to generate their own renewable energy and are on track to reach our target of 30 branches by July 2017. To date, 23 branches have installed solar panels on their rooftops.