British export finance agency aims for net zero emissions by 2050

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises above a factory at sunset in Rugby, Britain February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s export credit agency said it aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its investments by 2050 and increase its support for green exports.

UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) move follows a commitment in April to end support for fossil fuel projects overseas and ahead of Britain hosting global talks on climate change.

It also follows criticism from campaigners that state-backed groups are not doing enough to overhaul their lending.

UKEF has a capacity of 50 billion pounds to support exports through loans, insurance and guarantees, and said it would be carbon neutral on a net basis by mid-century, in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement on climate.

UKEF, which provided 12.3 billion pounds in support for UK companies over the last year, said it planned to increase financial support for exports linked to renewable energy and activities focused on adapting to the impacts of climate change.

“We must take urgent action to respond to the threat of climate change to have a chance of limiting global warming,” UKEF CEO Louis Taylor told Reuters, adding: “We have pledged to decarbonise all of our operations and financial portfolio.”

Demand for green trade is expected to be worth 1.8 trillion pounds a year by 2030, delivering up to 170 billion pounds of export sales in goods and services for Britain by 2030, a Board of Trade report in August said.

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