Morgan Stanley announces new climate commitment, first American bank to set target

Image Credit: FT montage/Reuters

Morgan Stanley announced it’s commitment to reach net-zero financed emission by 2050. The financial institute is the first major American bank to commit to “providing financing, expertise and thought leadership to support the transition to a low-carbon world.”

Morgan Stanley joined the Steering Committee of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) to measure and disclose financed emissions.

“Morgan Stanley has been a leader in sustainable finance since we founded our Global Sustainable Finance Group over a decade ago,” Matthew Slovik, leader of Global Sustainable Finance at Morgan Stanley, said. “This is the next major evolution of our efforts as we continue to integrate the potential risks and opportunities of climate change into our core business.”

While many environmental groups and conservationists applaud Morgan Stanley’s announcement regarding their responsibility for cutting financed emissions, they are critical of the financial institute because it failed to provide a detailed plan to achieve its goal.

“This net-zero commitment is a step forward, but a destination isn’t worth much without a roadmap to get there,” Amy Gray, co-coordinator of the Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition, a coalition of more than 130 organizations holding financial backers of fossil fuels accountable, said. “We’d like to hear less about what banks are committed to achieving 30 years from now and more about what they’re doing today to address the climate crisis unfolding all around us. As long as Morgan Stanley invests in companies like Exxon, Chevron and Shell, they’re investing in disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, and floods.”

But Morgan Stanley rebuttal is that the “lack of standardized tools and methodologies around measuring and disclosing financed emissions” makes this goal critically challenging to achieve. Therefore, Morgan Stanley said it is committed to taking a leadership role with the PCAF in “developing the tools and methodologies needed to measure and manage our carbon-related activities in appropriate ways.”

According to Rainforest Action Network, Morgan Stanley invested $91 billion in fossil fuels from 2016 to 2019.

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