CSIRO and Commonwealth Bank have launched a joint project to protect the finance sector against climate change. 

CSIRO’s climate science knowledge will be merged with Commonwealth Bank’s understanding of climate risks to identify the critical factors that could shape future environmental and social policies on climate change.

The bank will provide funding for the research as well as anonymised data and information from across a broad range of industries that are being impacted or are likely to be increasingly affected by climate change, such as manufacturing, infrastructure, and agriculture. 

CSIRO will utilise the data to develop sectoral analysis and different scenarios. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) will then overlay economic and financial insights to underscore the varying impacts on the Australian economy.

The insights from the project will be made available to the broader finance industry as banks, insurers, and other financial institutions build upon their own climate change strategies.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said adapting to a changing climate is a competitive advantage for Australia and will build a stronger economy, more jobs, and more resilient communities.

“CSIRO’s unique climate intelligence, supercharged by Australia’s largest data and AI network, and quantitative analytic capabilities can help financial institutions like Commonwealth Bank navigate an uncertain future,” Dr Marshall said.

“Australian businesses can lead our national response, especially when they have access to Australia’s world-class science and insights to guide meaningful, impactful investment in growth opportunities balanced by risk mitigation.

“It sounds impossible, the idea of science predicting the future, but solving the seemingly impossible is what science is for, and giving business the power to get ahead of climate will enable them to build a more resilient and sustainable nation that is globally competitive and prosperous.”

Matt Comyn, Commonwealth Bank CEO, said the partnership with CSIRO would significantly strengthen the efforts being made by financial institutions and their customers and communities to adapt to climate change.

“We believe our collaboration with CSIRO will better inform our approach on how to play a leadership role in supporting Australia’s transition to a more sustainable economy,” he said. 

“The best scientific insight, combined with our data and insights, means CSIRO and CBA are well placed working together to help businesses understand what risks they face, how they can adapt and, what opportunities are available to create jobs and investment in a lower carbon economy.”

CSIRO researchers will be focused on filling identified information gaps for the finance sector, such as determining the economic impact of climate change over geographic regions.

The independent science-based transition scenarios developed in this project will be used to estimate exposure to climate risks in sectors across the economy.