Rabobank at COP26 climate conference in Glasgow

Climate change, biodiversity loss, degradation of soils & endangered ecosystems are threats to our planet. Following the Food Systems Summit Rabobank is also taking responsibility to help its clients in the transition to a more sustainable economy through its presence at COP26, which is being attended amongst others, by Managing Board member Berry Marttin (virtual) and CEO of our Carbon Bank Barbara Baarsma. Combatting climate change is a necessity and a chance for our economies to become more sustainable.

We need to do even more

Are we already doing enough as a society and as a bank? The plain truth is that we need to do even more. Together with consumers, companies and the government, we have to significantly boost our efforts. As a bank, it is our job to finance more sustainable clients or to help clients in their transition and to offer clients access to our networks and (sector) knowledge. We recently signed up to the UN's Net Zero Banking Alliance, where we commit to 0% CO2 emissions by 2050 together with other banks.

Appeal to world leaders

It’s not only companies and consumers that have a responsibility in combating climate change. World leaders need to make bold decisions at the COP26 and in their home countries. Rabobank would like to see binding legal restrictions on emissions and supports an international system for carbon pricing. Governments also need to foster international convergence on taxonomy and data requirements, so every company can report transparently about their climate commitments. And, most importantly, this has to be a just and inclusive transition. No one should be left behind. It is a role of governments to partially compensate and support lower income groups and smaller businesses. The developed world also has a role to play in supporting developing countries.

At COP26, Rabobank makes the following commitments to tackle climate change:

  • We encourage and help farmers to make their transition to sustainable farming
    The food chain represents more than a quarter of global GHG emissions and is uniquely connected to other environmental factors, such as biodiversity and water. Within the next two decades the global demand for food is projected to double. This means agriculture will have to become more productive while substantially reducing its environmental impact. As the world’s largest Food & Agri bank, we intend to do more to encourage and help farmers to make their transition to sustainable farming. This is necessary for nature, the climate but also for the farmers themselves. For instance dairy farmers in the Netherlands who demonstrate improvements in sustainability aspects receive an interest discount on Rabobank loans. We want to expand this principle to other sectors. Furthermore, we are part of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), where we work together to develop a framework to measure biodiversity. We need to further integrate biodiversity and nature in our policies, measurement and reporting.

  • We accelerate the energy transition
    In addition, we need to accelerate the energy transition in residential real estate in The Netherlands. Many buildings are still poorly insulated and there’s still a lot of potential for solar panels on roofs. For the transition of our real estate portfolio, (EUR 200 billion in total), we are highly dependent on the progress made by the Dutch government in its neighbourhood approach. But this does not alter the fact that we want to support our clients as much as possible to achieve an average energy label ‘A’ in 2030, which is almost energy neutral. At the moment the average label is ‘C’.

  • We help small entrepreneurs with sustainable finance solutions
    Many small entrepreneurs need financial and other support with their transition to a green revenue model. In 2024, we will have offered 100,000 of our SME clients sustainable finance solutions. For example, we help businesses in their transition into (more) circular enterprises by providing access to a Circular Business Desk and by offering green incentives and green products. Rabobank has provided a total of EUR 10.1 billion of finance to Dutch sustainable front runners.

  • In 2050, our energy financing will be 100% sustainable
    Finally, green energy is the future. Rabobank is in the top-10 largest investors in renewable energy projects. In the coming years we want to grow by up to 30% in this market. By 2050, our energy financing must be 100% sustainable.

Only together can we stop climate change. It takes courageous leadership to take extra steps. The big steps that are now needed for a green, sustainable future. It is a necessity, but also a huge opportunity for our economy.