Axis Bank commits to positive climate action and sustainable development goals
Chandigarh, September 22, 2021: Axis Bank, India’s third largest private sector bank, announced a series of commitments aligned to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), supporting India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. As part of its commitments, the Bank has set a target of incremental lending Rs. 30,000 crore over the next 5 years, under Wholesale Banking towards pertinent sectors included in its Sustainable Financing Framework.
Axis Bank has now become the first financial institution in India to have set up a standalone Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Committee at the Board level, underscoring the Bank’s strong intent to adopting ESG as a strategic driver for the organization’s plans and performance. The Bank has also established an ESG Steering Committee at the Management level, comprising senior business leaders to champion ESG integration across the organization.
The Bank has announced its commitments ahead of the upcoming 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) at Glasgow, UK from 31 October - 12 November, where the Parties are expected to talk about enhancing their commitments made at COP21 at Paris in 2015.
The Bank’s commitments include:
• Incremental financing of Rs. 30,000 Crores under Wholesale Banking to sectors with positive social and environmental outcomes, by FY 2026
• Scaling down exposure to carbon-intensive sectors in its Wholesale banking business portfolio
• Expanding ESG risk coverage in credit appraisal under its ESG Policy for Lending
• Building and deploying an ESG risk assessment toolkit, with ESG stress testing and ESG scenario analysis, for its Large Corporate, SME and Agri-business verticals by FY 2023
• Making 5% of its retail Two-Wheeler loan portfolio as electric by FY 2024, and offering 0.5% interest waiver on new EV loans, effective immediately
• Incremental disbursement of Rs. 10,000 crores by FY 2024 under Asha Home Loans for affordable housing, and increasing share of women borrowers
• Reaching 30% female representation in its workforce by FY 2027, aligned to the Bank’s #ComeAsYouAre Diversity Charter
• Planting 2 million trees by FY 2027 across India towards contributing to creating a carbon sink
• Achieving carbon neutrality in its business operations
Commenting on this announcement, Mr. Rajesh Dahiya, Executive Director, Axis Bank said, ‘’As a financial institution, we are aware of our responsibility towards helping India move on the path of equitable and sustainable economic growth. Over the past two years, we have been working relentlessly on bolstering our holistic strategy, governance, and performance benchmarks around ESG. These commitments are part of our longer term ESG strategy woven around our purpose of ‘Banking that leads to a more inclusive and equitable economy, thriving community and a healthier planet’. We would like to think of this as only the beginning and we shall continue to explore scaling and strengthening our commitments over time.’’