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Danske Bank maps its total carbon footprint and publishes comprehensive climate action plan to enable Danske Bank and its customers to meet Paris Agreement goals

As part of the work on preparing Danske Bank’s new climate action plan, the Group’s direct and indirect carbon emissions have been mapped. The figures highlight Danske Bank’s impact on the green transition and the opportunities to work with customers to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions by 2030 and 2050.

Danske Bank is fully committed to leading the green transition. We have reduced investments in and lending to oil and gas production companies by 37% and 50% respectively since 2020.

The launch of a new and ambitious climate action plan that maps Danske Bank’s total carbon emissions from all of its activities, direct as well as indirect, marks the next step on this journey.

The mapping is based on 2020 figures, which provide the latest available data.

This data shows that the Group’s entire carbon footprint amounts to 41.1 million tonnes of carbon emissions, which underlines Danske Bank’s important role in the green transition as Denmark’s total carbon emissions in 2021 amounted to 44 million tonnes.

The mapping forms the basis for a comprehensive new climate action plan – a plan to ensure that by 2030 and 2050 Danske Bank and its customers will have reduced their carbon emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.. 

“Being the second-largest bank in the Nordic region with close to 3.3 million customers and DKK 2,800 billion in invested capital and lending, we are in a unique position to contribute to solving the climate challenge. We have therefore prepared an ambitious plan to support our own and our customers’ transition towards a sustainable future. The plan encompasses all activities, from providing finance to personal customers who want to improve the energy-efficiency of their homes to businesses involved with fossil energy production that want to transition to more sustainable alternatives,” says Carsten Egeriis, CEO of Danske Bank.

The vast majority – 99.9% – of Danske Bank’s climate footprint comes from so-called financed emissions. These are indirect downstream carbon emissions that are generated as a result of Danske Bank’s financing and investment activities. 

Carsten Egeriis on Danske Bank's climate action plan

A climate action plan based on international best practice
With the new ‘Danske Bank’s Climate Action Plan – Our Roadmap to Net Zero’, Danske Bank is taking a significant step in its efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The goals in the plan have been set in line with the criteria and recommendations provided by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

“With this climate action plan, we are setting a clear direction for our work with sustainability across activities and customer segments. The climate challenge is incredibly complex. It is therefore crucial that our work is based on reliable data on the total emissions resulting from our financing and investment activities. This provides us with a solid foundation when defining specific targets and prioritising our efforts to ensure that we make the largest impact possible in terms of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5°C,” says Carsten Egeriis.

The new climate action plan covers the entire Danske Bank Group, including Danica Pension and Realkredit Danmark, and it sets specific 2030 targets for carbon emission reductions in relation to customers, investors, pension investments and Danske Bank’s own activities – such as buildings and air travel. Among other things, the plan builds upon the reduction targets that Danske Bank set in February 2022 for the most carbon-intensive sectors: shipping, oil and gas, and energy utilities.

We make the greatest impact for the individual and for society by owning our role in society and by offering our customers advisory services and financial solutions to support their transition. 

Carsten Egeriis

CEO, Danske Bank

We must support our customers’ green transition  
The climate action plan sets targets for how to reduce emissions in a number of sectors. The easy solution to reducing emissions would be to cease all cooperation with high-emitting customers, but that is not the approach we want to take.

“The transition from fossil to renewable energy is a long-term effort that requires massive investments. We serve the entire economy, not only the businesses that are already very green today. We make the greatest impact for the individual and for society by owning our role in society and by offering our customers advisory services and financial solutions to support their transition. The starting point will always be to work together to find the right solution. If a business does not want to transition or does not have a realistic transition plan, we may ultimately have to terminate the business relations. We do not want to be exposed to businesses whose business model poses a risk due to reluctance to initiate a transition process,” says Carsten Egeriis.

A climate action plan based on comprehensive analyses  
The climate action plan is based on comprehensive analyses.

We have reviewed the entire Group’s activities using, among other things, the SBTi’s criteria and recommendations to determine which 2030 targets to set to ensure compliance with the latest scientific recommendations on how to reduce carbon emissions to an extent that is in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

The SBTi is expected to approve the targets in the climate action plan later this year, but the work to meet the targets is already ongoing.

Examples of 2030 climate targets across the Group

- Unless otherwise stated, targets are set against a 2020 baseline and are to be achieved by 2030

Reduction of financed emission intensity in high-emission sectors – for example:

  • Shipping by 50%
  • Oil and gas (upstream) by 50% (absolute emission reduction target)
  • Energy utilities by 50%
  • Commercial real estate by 55%
Reduce financed emission intensity of personal mortgage lending by 55%.
  • 50% reduction of weighted-average carbon intensity by 2030.
  • Engage with the 100 largest emitters by 2025.
  • Reduce portfolio temperature rating in line with the 1.5°C target.
Reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 80% from the 2019 level.

What is the Science Based Target initiative

The Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the UN Global Compact (UN GC), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the WWF with the aim of driving ambitious climate action in the private sector by setting science-based reduction targets. The SBTi provides a clearly defined pathway for businesses to set reduction targets that are consistent with the Paris Agreement.