MUMBAI: Ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5, private sector lender HDFC Bank on Thursday announced its plans to become carbon-neutral by 2031-32.
As part of this initiative, the bank is looking at reducing its emissions, energy, and water consumption.
It will continue to incorporate and scale up the use of renewable energy in its operations.
"As one of the largest banks in the country, I think the onus is on us to be not just a socially responsible corporate but also environmentally conscious.
Today, we want to pledge that we, as a bank, want to become carbon neutral by the financial year 2031-32," its Group Head (CSR, Business Finance and Strategy, Administration and Infrastructure) Ashima Bhat told reporters.
She said a broad strategy is in place and going forward, the bank will fine-tune it and introduce new measures if necessary.
The bank has a three-pronged strategy to achieve its objective to become carbon neutral- reduce consumption, transition to renewable energy, and offset carbon footprint.
As part of the strategy, it is planning various initiatives, including decrease absolute emissions and energy consumed from the current level of 3,15,583 MT CO2 emissions, convert 50 per cent of its total sourced electricity to renewable energy, create single-use plastic-free corporate offices, plant 25 lakh trees and reduce water consumption by 30 per cent.
"The data centre is a big energy guzzler for us and we are counting it in our energy measurements and we are also looking to offset that," Bhat said adding that the bank is also looking at energy-efficient measures at ATMs.
As part of its ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) strategy, the bank will also focus on offering loans for green products like electric vehicles at lower interest rates and incorporating ESG scores in its credit decisions.
"We are in the process of setting up a percentage target in terms of how much we will finance. There would definitely be an interest differential if you are going in for something which has an impact on climate change or environment," Bhat said.
The lender is also working on a framework for issuing green bonds.