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Credit Suisse aims to halve emissions intensity of investments by 2030

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen in Zurich

By Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) - Credit Suisse on Thursday said it plans to halve the emissions intensity of investments across its investment funds by the end of the decade, and would increase its focus on high-emitting companies.

In a "Climate Action Plan" released on Thursday, Credit Suisse said its 2030 target translated into an annual reduction in emissions intensity of 6% a year compared to a 2019 baseline, without using carbon credits to offset emissions.

Emissions intensity, for an asset manager, refers to emissions per dollar of assets held. Use of such a metric has faced criticism from some campaigners for being less rigorous than a target focused on "absolute" emissions reductions.

The 2030 target covers listed equities and corporate bonds, but does not include sovereign debt, cash, derivatives and private equity, Credit Suisse said, although it planned to increase the asset classes covered over time.

Assets covered by the target would initially total 224 billion Swiss francs ($237.14 billion), the company said, with 285 billion Swiss francs in assets in its investment funds currently not included in the target.

"Our clients have a growing appetite and expectation of us, and we are committed to incorporating greater environmental and social considerations into the decision-making process in our pursuit of net zero," said Steven Bates, Head of Sustainability Analysis and Solutions, Wealth Management.

Going forward, Credit Suisse said it would assess the climate plans of 150-300 high-emitting companies, and focus talks on those in which it holds assets that have yet to set clear goals or a credible plan.

If they do not move quickly enough, Credit Suisse said it could vote against the board at company annual meetings or exclude the company from portfolios.

On thermal coal mining or coal-fired power generation, Credit Suisse said it would tighten the revenue threshold for exclusion from its portfolios from the current 20% to 15% by 2025 and 5% by 2030.

It would also exclude companies making more than 5% of revenues from Arctic oil and gas, or more than 10% of revenues from oil sands, effective April 1, 2023.

($1 = 0.9446 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Simon Jessop. Editing by Jane Merriman)