Swedish lender Swedbank has adopted a climate target for its shipping portfolio for the first time.

The bank said that decarbonisation considerations will now be integrated into the bank’s loan decisions for vessel finance.

The new target means that by 2030 the financed emission intensity of Swedbank’s shipping portfolio will be aligned with the most ambitious decarbonisation pathway of the International Maritime Organization.

The move follows the lender’s decision in February to sign up to the Poseidon Principles, a global framework for banks dedicated to cutting emissions in their loan books.

“Swedbank continues to strengthen its sustainability commitment by adopting additional climate targets. Shipping is the sixth sector in which we measure and set targets for our climate footprint,” Swedbank head of group sustainability Johanna Fager Wettergren said.

“Collectively, these goals cover about 80% of our lending portfolio. Together with our customers, we continue to accelerate the transition,” she added.

The new target will halve the average emission intensity of the portfolio by 2030, against a 2022 baseline.

Swedbank has already set an overall emission target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Our climate targets for the shipping portfolio highlight our commitment to reducing the climate impact of the shipping industry.

“The sector continues to lower its CO2 emissions, and our role is to be an active partner, supporting our customers in their ongoing transition,” Swedbank head of ocean industries Niels Bugge said.

The target applies to ships of above 5,000 gt.

Two centuries of operations

Swedbank has produced a methodology paper that describes the bank’s selection criteria for the adoption of sector-specific climate targets, and how it will work towards them.

Including Swedbank, the Poseidon Principles has 35 members.

Lenders commit to measuring and reporting the carbon intensity of their loan portfolios.

The grouping now covers more than 80% of the global ship-finance book.

Founded more than 200 years ago, Swedbank’s roots are firmly planted in the history of Sweden’s savings banks and its cooperative agricultural bank tradition.

The lender has 600,000 corporate clients in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden.

Swedbank strengthened its Nordic shipping reach through a strategic partnership in Norway with SpareBank 1 SR-Bank in 2022.

The maritime specialists aimed to build their ocean industries business together, including boosting financing of environmentally friendly vessels.

The two sides said that the partnership would be built on a shared commitment to sustainable growth to enable improved services for corporate clients in Sweden and Norway.

Part of the deal was the transfer of a portfolio worth NOK 5.6bn ($562m) by Swedbank to SpareBank.

This consisted of shipping, renewables and property loans.

A Swedbank spokesman told TradeWinds less than one-third of the amount was shipping and offshore related.