DBS commits to net zero by 2050 and becomes first Singapore bank to join the UN-linked Net-Zero Banking Alliance

Singapore.29 Oct 2021

DBS to align lending and investment portfolios with net zero emissions by 2050

Reinforces the bank’s ongoing efforts to tackle climate change

Singapore, 29 Oct 2021 - In the lead up to the United Nations (UN) climate-focused COP26 conference which kicks off in Glasgow on 31 October, DBS today announced that it is the first Singapore bank to become a signatory on the UN-convened, industry-led Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA). The NZBA is a component of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and is hosted by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative. This announcement reinforces the bank’s continued commitment to work alongside industry peers, customers and policymakers in collective efforts in the global transition towards net zero.

Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and UK Prime Minister Johnson’s Finance Adviser for COP26, said, “Fantastic that DBS will be the first Singaporean bank to join the Net-Zero Banking Alliance and GFANZ, the gold standard for net zero commitments and action. By joining, DBS will work with its corporate clients, investors, fellow GFANZ members and the public sector to translate climate ambition into action that will reduce emissions while growing our economies. DBS’ commitment, expertise and leadership will make powerful contributions, particularly in the ASEAN region which is crucial for global decarbonisation, to driving the transition to a net zero economy.”

Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank, said, “Joining the GFANZ alliance and making a commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is not something that we take lightly. Determining suitable transition pathways for our customers in different industries, and creating realistic medium-term milestones in the journey is challenging, given the starting position in many countries in our part of the world. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that collective action is essential to achieving a net-zero future, and now have some line of sight towards a viable course of action that is constructive and impactful.”

The NZBA was launched in April 2021 and currently includes 87 banks across 36 countries, representing more than 40% of global banking assets amounting to around USD65 trillion.

As a signatory of the NZBA, DBS commits to:

  • Transition the operational and attributable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions[1] from its lending and investment portfolios to align with pathways to net zero by 2050 or sooner;
  • Annually publish absolute emissions and emissions intensity in line with best practice and within a year of setting targets; and
  • Take a robust approach to the role of carbon credits/ offsets in transition plans.

This reinforces DBS’ ongoing efforts to tackle climate change and furthers the bank’s commitment towards realising a net zero future. The bank has also been making steady progress across several areas as part of its broader sustainability efforts.

1) Achieving net zero operational carbon emissions by 2022

DBS is committed to achieving net zero operational carbon emissions across the bank by 2022 and continues to reduce the bank’s carbon footprint while advancing its sustainable procurement agenda. As at end 2020, 99.9% of DBS’ new suppliers have signed their commitment to the bank’s Sustainability Sourcing Principles (SSP).

In November 2017, DBS became a signatory to RE100 – the first Asian bank and Singapore company to join the global renewable energy initiative. The bank is committed to using 100% renewable energy for its Singapore operations by 2030.

2) Tracking steadily towards zero thermal coal commitment by 2039

DBS is the first Singapore bank to commit to zero thermal coal exposure by 2039.

To achieve its latest goal of zero thermal coal exposure, the bank said in April that it would cease the onboarding of new customers who derive more than 25% of their revenue from thermal coal with immediate effect and lower the threshold as time progresses. DBS will also stop financing customers who derive more than 50% of revenue from thermal coal from January 2026, except for their non-thermal coal or renewable energy activities, and lower the threshold as time progresses.

DBS has progressively refined its coal commitments to tackle climate change over the last few years. In February 2018, the bank issued a statement to restrict financing to only coal-fired power projects which adopt more advanced technologies which emit lower carbon emissions and to stop financing new thermal coal mining projects. This was followed by a blanket cease in financing any new coal power assets in April 2019.

At the same time, the bank continues to ramp up support towards the renewables sector as evidenced by its increased exposure to renewable energy projects of SGD 4.2 billion in 2020 versus SGD 2.85 billion in 2019.

In addition, the bank will leverage DBS' Sustainable and Transition Finance Framework to achieve meaningful decarbonisation in sectors which remain resource-intensive. This will be conducted through engagements with customers to establish their transition strategies, and the incorporation of greenhouse gas reduction targets in all applicable structures.

3) Scaling positive ESG impact through sustainable finance

In 2021, DBS raised its sustainable finance target to SGD50 billion by 2024, accelerating its sustainability agenda in helping customers incorporate sustainable business practices into their overall business strategy. As of end of October 2021, DBS has concluded over SGD30 billion of sustainable financing.

4) Committing to transparent disclosures

In 2019, DBS became the first bank in Singapore and South East Asia to adopt the Equator Principles. The Equator Principles (EPs) is a globally recognised risk management framework adopted by financial institutions for determining, assessing and managing environment and social risk in infrastructure projects.

DBS is also among early adopters of the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), on voluntary disclosures around climate-related risks and opportunities. The Task Force’s recommendations will help secure more complete, meaningful, reliable and consistent data across all companies and sectors for climate-related financial disclosures. This provides stakeholders with more meaningful and transparent climate-related financial information, enabling market forces to drive efficient allocation of capital and support a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.

[1] Includes the bank’s’ Scope 1,2,3 emissions


About DBS
DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The bank's "AA-" and "Aa1" credit ratings are among the highest in the world.

Recognised for its global leadership, DBS has been named “World’s Best Bank” by Euromoney, “Global Bank of the Year” by The Banker and “Best Bank in the World” by Global Finance. The bank is at the forefront of leveraging digital technology to shape the future of banking, having been named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney and the world’s “Most Innovative in Digital Banking” by The Banker. In addition, DBS has been accorded the “Safest Bank in Asia” award by Global Finance for 13 consecutive years from 2009 to 2021.

DBS provides a full range of services in consumer, SME and corporate banking. As a bank born and bred in Asia, DBS understands the intricacies of doing business in the region’s most dynamic markets. DBS is committed to building lasting relationships with customers, and positively impacting communities through supporting social enterprises, as it banks the Asian way. It has also established a SGD 50 million foundation to strengthen its corporate social responsibility efforts in Singapore and across Asia.

With its extensive network of operations in Asia and emphasis on engaging and empowering its staff, DBS presents exciting career opportunities. For more information, please visit www.dbs.com.