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WASHINGTON, DC: A new report has revealed how the banking sector uses client cash to finance fossil fuels while undermining the sustainability efforts of climate-conscious companies including Google, Meta and PayPal.

‘The Carbon Bankroll: The Climate Impact and Untapped Power of Corporate Cash’ provides analysis of the hidden climate impact of corporate finances, making it possible to understand the scale of emissions generated by a company’s cash, investments and financial practices.

Published by the Climate Safe Lending Network (CSLN), The Outdoor Policy Outfit (TOPO) and BankFWD, the study reveals the need for companies to decarbonise their cash and short-term investments:

• For Google, Meta, Microsoft and Salesforce, their cash holdings are their largest source of emissions, increasing their collective total by 91-112 percent.

• Cash holdings by Amazon and Johnson & Johnson, constitute one of their largest emissions sources, increasing total emissions by 11-15 percent.

• In 2021, the emissions generated by Microsoft’s US$130 billion held in cash and investments was comparable to the cumulative emissions generated by the manufacturing, transportation and use of every Microsoft product in the world.

• In 2020, Amazon’s US$81 billion held in cash and short-term investments generated more emissions than the purchased energy used to power every Amazon facility around the world, which includes its data centres, fulfillment centres, physical stores and other facilities.

The Carbon Bankroll suggests companies can push their banks to decrease financing fossil fuels - or move their money. Doing so, the report explains, would help companies achieve their corporate climate goals and improve the financial sector’s climate performance at a time when large banks have continued to finance fossil fuel expansion at levels that are incompatible with their own climate commitments.

“These companies’ substantial climate accomplishments are being severely undermined by a misaligned financial system that is channeling hundreds of billions of corporate US dollars into the carbon-intensive sectors driving the climate crisis,” declared Paul Moinester, executive director of TOPO.

“Every individual and business can impact the world around them through their finances in one of three ways, via their investments, their philanthropy, and their banking.” added Valerie Rockefeller, co-chair of BankFWD and board chair of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “The power of this report is that its data tell us that the lever we use the least turns out to be the most powerful tool we have – where and how we choose to bank.”
 
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