“By making everyday technologies like solar power and batteries accessible, we know we can fundamentally change the way Australians engage with energy – we bring electricity home,” McConnell said.
According to McConnell, without Brighte, 70% of customers surveyed by the company say they would have delayed or postponed their purchase of solar energy, because the main obstacle to households using clean energy remains the initial cost. .
“Before Brighte’s zero rate offering, retailers relied on customers with high disposable income, or they had to wait for financing approval, a process that could take a few business days,” McConnell says.
“Brighte’s business model is based on the innovative use of finance to help accelerate the transition to renewable energy, and we have made a significant contribution to accelerating the transition to clean energy with over 100,000 homes across the country using our product.”
Sustainability is at the very heart of the company with its mission to “make every home sustainable”.
“Whether advocating for increased battery rebates or partnering with the government to help administer emissions reduction and renewable energy programs, accelerating the electrification of homes underpins everything we do,” McConnell says.
And with many Australians beginning to feel the effects of soaring energy prices, the transition to renewables needs to be accelerated not just for environmental reasons, but also to start bringing energy costs down. in the medium and long term.
McConnell says Brighte customers save an average of about $1,000 a year on their energy bills and the company is seeing an increase in solar and battery inquiries given market uncertainty. Energy.
“Our point-of-sale financing product and on-site approval reduce friction in the sales process, enabling solar retailers to close more sales and accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
Brighte is the winner of the 2022 Financial Review Sustainability Leaders – Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services category.
One of the country’s largest banks also offers innovative financing solutions designed to help Australia transition to a cleaner energy future.
David Gall, NAB Executive Corporate and Institutional Banking, says that while reducing emissions is a global challenge, “it is also a global opportunity”.
“By working with our clients and customers to encourage sustainable practices, we are witnessing economic activities that create shared prosperity for current and future generations,” says Gall.
NAB views sustainability as a strategic pillar and mobilizes its entire business to seize business opportunities in response to climate change.
It has been an industry leader in building a certified green portfolio of over $4.1 billion in green bonds and deposits and its green bonds have funded 170 MT of CO2 reductions.
By helping NAB customers find innovative financing solutions, “we are able to help our customers find ways to make the transition,” says Gall.
For example, the bank helps customers reduce their own carbon emissions and “is actively working with 100 of our largest greenhouse gas-emitting customers, understanding where they are now and supporting them in developing or improving their plans to manage their transition”. .
NAB is a founding member of Carbonplace, a new carbon credit settlement platform jointly developed by some of the world’s largest financial institutions.
“This global consortium is based on distributed ledger technology and recently successfully completed its first transaction with Visa. This is an exciting development as it allows the buyer to be sure that they are buying a carbon credit that they can trace and allows them to verify its quality and effectiveness and ensure that they will be faultless in the future,” says Gall.
The bank is also a member of the United Nations-convened Net Zero Banking Alliance and aligns its lending portfolio to net zero emissions by 2050 and is Australia’s leading banking provider of project finance to the global renewable energy segment.
“Since 2003, we have completed more than 150 revolving finance transactions and lent more than $11.5 billion,” says Gall.
Australian ethical investments
While Australia’s big four banks have relatively recently converted to a cleaner and more sustainable future, Australian Ethical Investments has been committed to this idea since 1986.
With nearly $7 billion in funds under management, the fund manager was originally created with 23 principles in its ethical charter.
Managing Director John McMurdo says the charter is “our compass and it sets us apart”.
“Our investment decisions, the way we recruit, the way we treat our employees and suppliers, the issues we take a stand on and the decisions made when operating our funds are all governed by our Code of Ethics. “says McMurdo.
“Incorporating our Charter into our corporate identity helps us respond to the interests of the many, rather than those of the few,” he says.
The company was founded on the principle that investing in a better world could pay off.
McMurdo asserts that ethical “constraint” invents an obligation to innovate, and that this “constrained innovation” has “enabled us to perform better and deliver financial returns to customers.”
The fund manager’s commitment to supporting innovative companies that are trying to improve society in the long term, such as those in the education, healthcare and technology sectors, contributes in part to this strong performance.
It’s important to note that strict adherence to the charter tends to have a halo effect, as many brands “want to work with us,” McMurdo says.
“It’s also crucial to win clients who trust us to invest in accordance with their values.
The French investment bank Natixis has set up an internal mechanism, the Green Weighting Factor, which links the allocation of capital for financing to environmental performance.
The tool is used to track the impact of Natixis’ balance sheet and alignment towards the goal of net zero by 2050. It ensures that Natixis will achieve this goal by adjusting the risk-weighted asset allocation over time, depending on the environmental impact of the portfolio. The initiative was established in Europe and has been rolled out across Natixis worldwide.
Olivier Menard, the bank’s head of green and sustainable finance for Asia-Pacific, says the mechanism is not a regulated tool but is a “quite unique methodology in the world of financial institutions”.
“The bank’s objective, as a responsible bank, is to support our customers in their transition,” says Menard.
“We’re being questioned by regulators around the world because it’s kind of unique.”
Natixis is committed to being net zero and has the tools and capacity to track and monitor the temperature of its balance sheet. This means that it is able to calculate the temperature that its balance sheet contributes to global warming.
At present, the temperature of the bank’s entire balance sheet would contribute 3.2 degrees to global warming, where the world currently stands, but its ambitious goals are to bring that temperature down to 2.5 degrees. by 2024 with the goal of reaching net zero by 2050.
“It’s a long journey but we’re aligned with the trajectory of the Paris agreement, and it’s a science-based approach.
“It involves everyone in the bank, from the front to the back office, and it’s a tool that also helps all of our clients make the transition,” Menard says.
IAG Natural Perils’ in-house team enables the insurance giant to understand the climate change impacts of severe weather and collaborate with all levels of government, community and business.
Ramana James, Executive Managing Director of IAG Safer Communities, says the company is committed to ”to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and severe weather on our customers, and why it is so important that this work be integrated across our business.”
The Natural Perils team was created in 2001 and is made up of meteorologists, scientists, hydrologists, engineers and statisticians.
They have published two peer-reviewed editions of the Severe weather in a changing climate report in partnership with the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. The research assesses changes for particularly extreme weather events in geographies across Australia and enabled detailed scenario analysis of future impacts on communities, assets and IAG’s insurance products and services.
IAG aims to help Australians reduce risk and build resilience through the design and price of its products, while reducing its own exposure to climate risks.
Through its NRMA brand, it runs several campaigns that encourage Australians to take action to reduce their exposure to risk.
“We have invested heavily in the science of climate change and disaster resilience for over two decades,” says James.
A recent initiative is a one-of-a-kind game developed with Minecraft called Climate Warriors. The game uses data from the AGI to help children understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change.
“Using this platform enables more young people to learn the actions they and their families can take to prepare for natural disasters and it has been downloaded over five million times,” says James .
IAG has also partnered with the Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA) on the FORTIS House project which empowers people to protect themselves against the risk of extreme climate and weather disasters by giving them practical solutions so they can rebuild more easily. , faster and louder, James said. .