Lenders are paying close attention to the upcoming date of March 22, when the United Nations’ first water confab in almost five decades starts in New York . This event has been likened to an aquatic version of the UN’s annual Conference of the Parties (COPs) and is the perfect opportunity for banks to demonstrate that they understand how critical water security is to climate change.
According to the World Resources Institute, achieving that goal globally requires spending $1 trillion a year on the sustainable provision of drinking water and sanitation and preparing for floods, scarcity, and pollution. But Citigroup (C.N) directed just 1.3% of its $222 billion worth of environmental and social transactions during 2020 and 2021 to the resource; transport and renewable energy enjoyed more than a third. Barclays’s (BARC. L) 600 million pounds accounted for a similarly low percentage of water in 2021. JPMorgan’s (JPM.N) 6% included financing the Nature Conservancy’s project to remove thirsty invasive plants depleting Cape Town’s scarce H20. Goldman Sachs(GS.N) racked up 658 sustainability-tagged deals in oil and gas but just a dozen in water.