Italy central bank to spurn firms that don’t go green


FILE PHOTO: Banca D’Italia (Bank of Italy) sign is seen in downtown Rome, Italy, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

ROME (Reuters) – The Bank of Italy plans to adopt investment criteria which reward companies that take action on climate change, joining other central banks, commercial banks and fund managers in ratcheting up pressure on boardrooms to go green.

The criteria will apply by end-June to the Italian central bank’s roughly 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) in shareholdings and later be extended to its 1 billion euros in corporate bond holdings, the bank said in a statement posted on its web site.

The criteria exclude firms that do not adopt U.N. principles on human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.

The Bank of Italy is a member of the Network for Greening the Financial System, a global financial group which treats climate change as a threat to financial stability.

An independent adviser will help the Bank of Italy to spot the best-in-class companies in terms of environmental, social and governance standards, the bank said.

As a result of the new criteria, greenhouse gas emissions from companies within its portfolio will fall 23%, and energy and water consumption will drop 30% and 17% respectively.

The central bank did not give a timeframe for when the new investment criteria would apply to corporate bond holdings.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Mark Bendeich

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