Carlos Hank González, chairman of the Board of Directors of Grupo Financiero Banorte, called on the international financial sector Tuesday to take stronger action against climate change, saying “uncompromising collaboration” is needed to drive sustainable business efforts, support new economic opportunities and protect the planet.
“We face a crucial moment in history in taking climate action, including management of the social and biodiversity elements of the crisis. Our work must be accelerated and treated as a multi-thematic climate and sustainable development agenda,” he said at a special International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) summit.
Carlos Hank González was the only Mexican representative in the ICC’s “Global Leaders for Climate Action” virtual forum, organized to set high-level private sector priorities for climate action. The ICC is seeking recommendations to inject renewed energy into the negotiations at COP26, the major United Nations meeting on global warming that begins Sunday in Glasgow.
He joined about 18 other international chief executives, business leaders and policymakers, including those from P&G, BP, IKEA, Enel Group, Nestle and other companies. The ICC wants to rally businesses to help keep the average global temperature from increasing 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
“Climate change poses a grave threat to humanity during these already challenging times, and resolution is only possible through uncompromising collaboration,” the Banorte chairman said. “The time for debate is over. Fighting climate change cannot wait.”
The financial sector must grasp the timeliness of the issue, he said, and work in ways to shift the flow of capital to sustainable and nature-positive activities through research and data tools. He said businesses should be encouraged to adopt comprehensive sustainability programs and goals in the same way they’d prioritize upgrading their internal technology.
He said innovation is key for the transition to a greener economy and the creation of sustainable prosperity, especially through the integration and management of the environmental, climate and social risks at the core of business strategies.
And banks play a vital role in that. “Financial institutions must identify the sectors and sub-industries whose operations, products and services, as well as their supply chains, are not aligned with sustainable development,” he said. “Banks also should consider improving their environmental performance through green lending initiatives that lend more to firms that are part of the low-carbon economy.”
As examples, he cited several Banorte initiatives and priorities as one of Mexico’s largest financial groups, including the bank’s sustainable investment fund and its social and environmental risk management system that evaluates risks and possible impacts on the environment and communities before financing any project.
Banorte’s role in climate action extends to its participation in the Net Zero Banking Alliance and in the Principles for Responsible Banking as a founding signatory. It also has endorsed the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, an initiative to help financial services and other industries more closely assess nature-related risks and opportunities.
Banorte is “acutely aware of our vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change” and “has put sustainability at the heart of our operations. It is part of our DNA. And we are proud to contribute to a sustainable recovery and help others move toward nature-positive outcomes in the global financial flow,” he said.
Looking ahead to the COP26 session that’s aimed at moving countries toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, he said that meeting must mobilize “players in the global economy to protect our planet against climate change and continue to embrace nature as a key element in that decarbonization drive.”
“Countries must push ahead on ambitious emission cuts and climate plans and then follow through with that,” he said.