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New Action Guide helps companies reduce emissions from their cash deposits

Emissions generated by how banks manage corporates’ cash holdings can significantly add to a company’s reported greenhouse gas emissions, but currently escape reporting. A new guide details actions companies can take to reduce these emissions and by doing so support accelerating the decarbonization of the financial sector.
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The new guide examines a critical yet overlooked driver of corporate greenhouse gas emissions – the emissions associated with how banks manage and repurpose the cash deposits of their corporate clients for emission-producing activities.
A critical revelation of this guide is that if emissions from corporate cash holdings in the bank were counted, many businesses would see a notable surge in their overall greenhouse gas emissions. The guide provides actionable advice for how climate-leading companies can be frontrunners in recognizing, measuring and mitigating these emissions. That’s although they are not yet required to report such emissions along their financial supply chains, as the relevant Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 3 guidance applies only to financial institutions and investors, but not to real-world companies.
The Greening Cash Action guide: How to reduce emissions from companies’ cash deposits in the bank outlines seven actions companies can take to assess and curtail emissions associated with how banks manage their corporate cash. By proactively engaging with their banks and encouraging better data disclosure and climate practices, companies can use their role as corporate customers to send important market signals to their banks to reduce the carbon intensity of their loan and investment portfolios, which, in turn, helps accelerate the broader decarbonisation of the financial system. 
The guide was developed for business leaders, sustainability managers, board members and employees and was authored by Johan Falk, Exponential Roadmap Initiative, Jakob König, Fair Finance Guide / Swedish Consumers’ Association, Paul Moinester, TOPO, and Allison Fajans-Turner, BankFWD
“Companies have to reduce emissions along their full value chain and that includes emissions in their financial supply chains. This guide gives practical and actionable recommendations on how to measure and reduce the emissions they indirectly finance through their cash holdings in the bank,” said Johan Falk, CEO and Co-founder of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative.
“This guide addresses a problem that we encountered when talking to the wealthiest companies in the world: that they are not aware of the magnitude of these emissions, and don’t know what to do about them,” said Paul Moinester, Executive Director, TOPO.
“What banks choose to finance is key for the climate transition. With this guide corporate clients can help to accelerate their banks’ transition and in turn banks have an opportunity to add value for their clients. It’s a clear win-win that benefits the climate,” said Jakob König, Fair Finance Guide / Swedish Consumers’ Association.
“Companies committed to driving climate progress have left a major lever on the table: namely, their power and influence on banks as major clients. By using this guide, companies can take steps to ensure that the banks that get their business are using company cash in ways that support and don’t undercut a company’s wider climate goals. This guide will help to cement climate safe banking as a new pillar of corporate sustainability and net zero planning,” said Allison Fajans-Turner, Managing Director, BankFWD.
James Varkey, CFO at Icebug, a member of the Exponential Roadmap Initiative who reviewed the guide said: “At Icebug, we have already started implementing the actions outlined in the guide and can see that we are contributing to improving our bank’s climate practice. We see a big potential for companies as bank customers to drive meaningful change in the financial sector.” 
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WHAT OTHERS SAID:
“This guide addresses two crucial levers for scaling and accelerating the transformation needed to stay within safe planetary boundaries: science aligned climate leadership from companies and financial actors. Its value lies in providing concrete actions companies can take with their banks to reduce financing of new emissions – and through these accelerate the transformation of the financial sector.“
Professor Dr Johan Rockström, Director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research:
“Beyond their organisational inventory, corporations may not realise the emissions financed by their cash. This guide provides them with practical recommendations to start considering and driving down financed emissions.” 
Kaya Axelsson, Net Zero Policy Engagement Fellow, University of Oxford
“Business is a crucial player in the Net Zero transition. This guide shows what actions companies can take to reduce the emissions they finance indirectly through their corporate cash. By taking these actions, business can help the transformation of yet another crucial player - the financial sector.”
Nigel Topping, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion at COP26
“We welcome all feedback from our corporate customers that can help us in improving our climate-related initiatives. The practical support provided by this guide helps companies engage effectively with their banks and also ensures that banks who perform better on climate issues receive the positive feedback needed to accelerate and further develop their climate action.” 
Catharina Belfrage Sahlstrand, Chief Sustainability and Climate Officer, Handelsbanken
"Our banking choices are an enormous lever for change, but it can feel a bit overwhelming to figure out where, how, and when to move to a more aligned bank partner (and to put positive pressure on your existing bank in the process). The Greening Cash Action Guide is an invaluable how-to that breaks it down so you can take action and become a powerful changemaker."
Kate Williams, CEO, One Percent for the Planet
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  • Mdshahab Uddin

    40 w

    very useful.

    1
    • Catarina Rolfsdotter-Jansson

      40 w

      Excellent tool!

      1
      • MIK MIK

        40 w

        its simple, to reduce GhG And co2 emission but no have actually interst on this

        1
        • DIPANJANA MAULIK

          40 w

          This guidebook is really path breaking. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of products help in orienting production process towards sustainable and low carbon or no carbon pathways. Similarly, the LCA of fund/ financial supply chain shall act as a reviewing tool as well as a reminder to the decision makers in company to opt for deep decarbonization. Attributing carbon foot print to each unit of currency is really required. The 7 action points suggested in the guidebook along with subsections have added granularity. This can lead to a "net zero" financing systems. Congratulations to all the contributors and gratitude for sharing.

          2
          • Thomas Tienso

            40 w

            This can/will make a big difference. Very good!

            2
            • Harrison wambui

              41 w

              Action should be taken

              1
              • Ingmar Rentzhog

                41 w

                I am a proud contributor to this important guide. Here is the full guide: https://exponentialroadmap.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Greening-Cash-Action-Guide.pdf

                5
                • DIPANJANA MAULIK

                  40 w

                  @Rentzhog congratulation for contributing to such an important guide . I have read it, it is novel and inspiring,

                  2
                • Gorffly mokua

                  41 w

                  Action needed ASAP!!

                  3
                  • George Kariuki

                    41 w

                    This is a step in the right direction.

                    4
                    • Sarah Chabane

                      41 w

                      A very useful guide! Great job Exponential Roadmap and others!

                      3
                      • Kevin

                        41 w

                        Necessary action needed here

                        2
                        • john linus Tom

                          41 w

                          Action need to be done

                          7
                          • Markus Lutteman

                            41 w

                            A truly great guide, and much needed.

                            9
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