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Lloyds hires Rebecca Heaton as director of sustainability

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By Lawrence White

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group has hired Rebecca Heaton as director of environmental sustainability, the British bank said on Thursday, as it moves to deliver on its promise of achieving net zero emissions.

The hire comes at a time when rival banks are likewise hiring climate change experts, as they seek to fend off activist pressure to reduce their own emissions and their funding of fossil fuels.

Lloyds has said it will work with customers, the government and the market to reduce emissions it finances by more than 50% by 2030, on the path to net zero by 2050 or sooner.

Heaton was a member of Britain's committee on climate change between 2017 and 2021, and joins from OVO Energy where she was director of sustainability.

Rival HSBC last month hired a group head of climate transition, as banks toughen their commitments to reduce funding of the fossil fuels industry.

Having met with limited success in past years by lobbying banks directly, activists more recently have pushed lenders into announcing sustainability policies by co-opting their major institutional shareholders to apply more pressure.

Scientists have warned of irreparable damage if the world fails to hit its climate target of capping global warming at 1.5° Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

(Reporting By Lawrence White, editing by Sinead Cruise)

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