CIBC says it aims to cut the emissions intensity of its power generation portfolio by 32 per cent by 2030 in the latest climate target released by a Canadian bank.
The reduction goal released Thursday follow on its release in March of targets for its oil and gas sector portfolio that included emission intensity reductions of between 27 and 35 per cent by the end of the decade.
The emission cut targets are the early steps of the greater goal of achieving net zero emissions in portfolios by 2050, something which all of Canada’s big banks have committed to.
CIBC, like several other Canadian banks, has focused first on the highest emitting sectors, and has committed to working with clients to help them reduce emissions.
“We continue to be encouraged by the commitment we’re seeing from our clients as we work towards enabling a more sustainable and inclusive economy,” said Harry Culham, head of capital markets at CIBC, in a statement.
Investors for Paris Compliance, a group pushing for corporate accountability on net zero goals, said it welcomed the latest target from CIBC as being another step toward its climate commitments, but lamented the use of intensity-based targets.
Intensity reductions mean that the emissions needed to produce say one kilowatt-hour of energy is reduced, but the total amount of emissions produced could still go up as power production rises.
Most emission targets released so far by Canadian banks have focused on intensity goals, with the exception of Bank of Montreal for one category of oil and gas emissions, while RBC is expected to release its initial emission reduction targets in the coming weeks.
Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, said in an email that both Canada and the U.S. are targeting zero carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2035, so CIBC’s goal looks to fall short of what will be required.
“If CIBC and other Canadian banks want to be taken seriously on climate change, they need to push the envelope of the possible rather than simply accept whatever governments make happen.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022