SBTi has also validated AIB’s financed emissions targets set for 75% of the bank’s lending portfolio.

AIB is looking for ways to align with the Paris Agreement target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Therefore, the bank seeks to reduce its emissions intensity by 58% per sqm on homes funded by $32.08bn of residential mortgages and by 67% per sqm on commercial real estate financed by $6.11bn of loans.

The figures are based on the group lending portfolio at year-end 2021.

AIB CEO Colin Hunt commented: “The International Panel on Climate Change reminded us in recent weeks that while it may still be still possible to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, the world is skating on thin ice and that ice is melting fast

“At AIB, we have set ambitious goals for our loan book and our own operations to meet the challenge of climate change head-on. We know that enabling our customers to lower their carbon footprint is a priority that can only be achieved through major investment in energy and climate action infrastructure while supporting our customers with discounted mortgages to buy energy-efficient homes and green personal loans to fund retrofits or the purchase of electric vehicles”, Hunt added.

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The climate headache for corporations

AIB’s announcement came after, in February, new data showed that only 0.4% of companies have a credible climate transition plan.

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which sets the global standard for environmental reporting for companies, cities and countries, very few corporate transition plans are credible.

In its February 2022 assessment of the climate transition plans of more than 18,600 companies (50% of total market cap), the CDP found that of the 4,000 that claim to have a climate transition plan in place, only 81 (0.4%) have plans that it deems entirely credible, meaning they meet all of the CDP’s 21 key indicators for a credible climate transition plan.

“Already in 2022, AIB’s green lending book accounted for 26% of all new lending, reflecting our sustained focus on giving customers more choice and making it easier for them to go green. We are pleased that our ambitious financed emission targets have now been independently validated, giving our stakeholders further independent assurance on our pathway to deliver our ambition that green or transition lending will account for 70 per cent of new lending by 2030”, Hunt said in a press release statement.

“In terms of becoming net zero on our own operations by 2030, we last year signed a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA) with NTR plc to source energy generated from two new solar farms in Co Wexford which will provide up to 80% of AIB Group’s electricity needs”, he concluded.