ECAs supporting billions in global trade form net-zero alliance facing civil society scepticism

(UNEP, Dubai, 4 December 2023) At COP28 today, 8 leading export credit agencies, in partnership with the University of Oxford, Future of Climate Cooperation, and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) launched the UN-convened Net-Zero Export Credit Agencies Alliance (NZECA), the first net-zero alliance comprising public finance institutions globally. In working to deliver net-zero economies by 2050, the NZECA will help decarbonise global trade and facilitate joint action from public and private finance. Combined, these ECAs supported an estimated US$120 billion in global trade in 2022 alone, providing finance and other services such as insurance and guarantees to facilitate local companies’ international exports. The export credit industry is hugely influential globally, with up to $28 trillion – comprising 80 to 90 per cent - of international trade relying on export financing, much of it provided by governments via export credit agencies and export-import banks. But NGOs note that a study by Net Zero Tracker found the bulk of “net zero” commitments from fossil fuel companies were meaningless as they either included no short-term emissions reduction plans, or did not fully cover scope 3 emissions (that is, the pollution released when a company’s products are used). Net Zero hopes/assumes that in the future technology will come along that can suck the carbon out of the atmosphere so that they can just keep going as it is until then.