What ING wants to see at COP26

09 November 2021 ... min read Listen

All eyes are on Glasgow for the long-awaited global climate meeting known as COP26, which is taking place from 31 October to 12 November.

ING CEO Steven van Rijswijk has referred to it as a ‘moment of truth’. The world is watching to see whether world leaders will align their countries’ emissions reduction strategies with what’s needed to meet global climate goals.

But we know that it’s not only up to governments – the private sector must also play a role. Banks have an important task in financing the energy transition and guiding clients to more sustainable business models. That’s why ING is there, too.

Andrew Bester reports from Glasgow. [1:10]

COP26 is a hybrid event, both in-person and virtual. ING Wholesale Banking head Andrew Bester is present in Glasgow, and other expert colleagues are participating virtually.

“I’m delighted to be representing ING,” said Andrew. “In particular I’m proud to share the progress we have been making in our climate strategy. But today’s about the future: how we as ING help our clients in their transition to a greener economy.”

ING hopes that COP26 will show governments stepping up their level of action and ambition, both in the short and long term. We believe companies want more ambitious goals from governments, because they understand the urgency as well as the business opportunities related to the energy transition. We think clear guidance will accelerate action.

We’ve already seen some steps being taken at COP26. For example, over 100 forest-rich nations committed to ‘halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation’ by the end of the decade, and 40 countries pledged to shift away from coal. ING committed in 2017 to reduce our funding to coal power generation to zero by 2025. The world is still waiting to see whether the commitments made at COP26 will be enough.

There are three key things that ING believes would help us and other businesses speed up emission reductions, scale up innovations and achieve a net-zero world by 2050: an escalating carbon price, supporting and incentivising first-movers, and investing in climate adaptation in the ‘race to resilience’.

“What’s important at COP: governments step up. Business is ready – we need regulation to support that,” said Andrew.

Andrew participated in a panel discussion on climate action in banking, sharing our progress, learnings and challenges. He spoke with journalists and met with clients and government representatives. Other colleagues took part in a virtual discussions on how to practically implement climate commitments, on biodiversity, net-zero steelmaking and shipping.

“I think that for climate change, it takes three to tango,” said Anne-Sophie Castelnau, global head of Sustainability. “Governments, financial institutions and businesses need to step up their game and take action together. I’m cautiously hopeful that this COP will be a big motivator for this.”

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