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The road to net-zero

How financial firms are moving to a low-carbon future

To avoid the worst of climate change, the scientific consensus is that greenhouse gas emissions must reach net zero by 2050. Many financial institutions have stepped up to the challenge. Here’s what they’ve discovered about what it takes to drive real-world change.

Financial institutions face increasingly high expectations for progress on decarbonization—of their own operations as well as the activities they finance, facilitate, and insure.

What practical steps are they taking along this road? And are there lessons we can draw from their initial experiences?

To find out, Deloitte and the Institute of International Finance surveyed industry executives around the world. Their responses led us to 10 key findings about mobilizing financial firms into action:

  1. A commitment adds impetus and keeps up momentum when inevitable challenges arise
  2. At three out of four firms, the CEO is ultimately responsible for delivering the net zero strategy
  3. As a multi-year endeavor across multiple divisions and operating layers, tight program management is vital
  4. Chief sustainability officers need to be agile agents of change
  5. Over 50% of firms have added headcount or created new roles to deliver on their net-zero strategy
  6. Net-zero is shifting firms’ focus to new value drivers and opportunities
  7. Only 3% of firms are confident they can assess the climates risks of individual customers
  8. The goal (for now) is to generate directional targets that are proxies for the firm’s ambitions and act as meaningful guides to action
  9. The keys to effective net zero communications are to be transparent, accountable, and authentic
  10. The only way to meet the unique nature of the climate challenge is through extensive collaboration across the entire ecosystem of clients, peers, and rule-setters

Explore the details in our report. For further discussion, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, Deloitte hosted a panel with the Institute of International Finance on the topic of this report.  The panel talked about steps firms are taking, potential barriers, and key to success. 

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