OakNorth Bank's first ever TCFD report
The Financial Stability Board created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information. While OakNorth Bank in the UK does not yet have a regulatory requirement to publish its TCFD report, it wanted to do so to demonstrate its leadership and ambition regarding sustainability.
Opportunity and outcomes
A growing number of banks have begun making commitments that align their lending and investment portfolios on pathways to net zero by 2050. However, as a neobank that’s unconstrained by age and complexity, and that’s never lent to businesses directly engaged in fossil fuel production, OakNorth Bank felt it could be more ambitious than this.
By leveraging ON Climate, part of OakNorth Credit Intelligence (ONci), OakNorth Bank was able to conduct an accurate analysis of climate impact on its entire portfolio in just one week. This compares with other banks which typically would only be able to do this for a few sectors as they don’t have the data to be able to commit across their book. This analysis enabled OakNorth Bank to set an ambitious target of reducing 60% of the scope 3 financed emissions from its loan book by 2030, down from a 2022 baseline.
ON Climate is also helping OakNorth Bank embed climate analysis across its lending lifecycle, integrating conversations on climate strategy with both new and existing customers. These happen during onboarding and at regular intervals throughout the relationship to help the Bank understand what steps the borrower has taken with regard to decarbonization. This enabled it to set a target of ensuring all its new property financing deals have a path to at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of B by 2030. Today, 83% of OakNorth-funded property investments have an EPC rating of C or above.
Other targets set were:
- Maintain carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
In 2019, OakNorth Bank became one of the first banks to achieve this by reducing emissions and the use of carbon offset credits. It has maintained this status since.
- Target net zero for all scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions of its UK supply chain, including purchased goods and services, by 2028.
- Be net zero for all scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2035.
- Support at least 75% of its C&I customers in adopting a net zero target of their own.
"Climate change can impact the performance of even the most profitable businesses, but it can also present us with an opportunity to support our customers in reducing their carbon emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. As the world adapts to the challenge of climate change, banks will need to take new approaches, conduct forward-looking scenario analysis, evolve their risk and credit processes, and build climate confident teams equipped to have conversations with borrowers, identifying both climate risks and opportunities."
Director of ESG Strategy at OakNorth Bank
ON Climate is enabling OakNorth Bank to identify transition financing opportunities within its existing loan book. The bank uses an ONci borrower questionnaire to integrate conversations on climate strategy and regular questions within its engagement and onboarding processes for both new and existing customers to aid better understanding of what steps they have made to date on decarbonization. By advocating the merits of committing to net zero, and in many cases commercial returns for doing so, it is already beginning to see customers making such commitments or working on their targets and transition plans. OakNorth Bank is supporting them by providing the capital needed for these capex / opex requirements.
ON climate is enabling OakNorth Bank to take immediate action on climate opportunities by understanding transition drivers and strategies. OakNorth Bank is increasingly financing customers with leading climate and decarbonisation strategies, and in many cases, integral parts of their business models. Over 20% of its current loan facilities support businesses that place sustainability at the core of their business model, and it wants to continue building on this figure in the future.
Through platforms such as the ON Climate Consortium, OakNorth Bank hopes to continue sharing best practices with other commercial banks, as well as building on its team’s expertise and understanding of climate change risk and financial disclosures.