BOE May Cut Overseas Travel for Staff to Hit Climate Targets

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The Bank of England may cut the amount of miles staff can travel by air to hit increasingly stringent environmental targets.

Sarah Breeden, the central bank’s executive sponsor for climate change, said that policy makers could be encouraged to swap overseas trips for virtual meetings even when pandemic restrictions ease. The U.K. central bank hit its climate target nine years early after travel bans grounded most airplanes.

“Going back to 2019 levels of travel shouldn’t be necessary, but the answer is not zero either,” Breeden said in an interview with the Press Association. “Our target is to reach net-zero by 2050 at the latest, but we’re seeing if we can do more.”

In March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak asked the BOE to include green targets in its deliberations. It started a major new stress test of the U.K.’s biggest banks and insurers last month to judge how resilient they are to climate change, a significant milestone ahead of Britain hosting the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later this year.

The bank also signaled in May that it will take account of the government’s environmental goals in buying assets in financial markets. That will affect any future purchases and reinvestments under its 20 billion pound ($28 billion) Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme, one of the emergency measures put in place to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus crisis.

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