Farming is not included in AIB Group’s carbon reduction targets for €43.5bn of its customer's loans.

The targets, which represent 75% of AIB’s lending portfolio include mortgage, commercial real estate, electricity generation and corporate portfolios.

A spokesperson for the bank said: "We have recently set and published financed emissions targets for 75% of the AIB loan book as detailed in our 2022 sustainability report.

"This is an increase on the 63% announced in 2022 and farming is not included in these targets.

"We have an ambition for net zero in our financed emissions by 2040, and this excludes our farming and agriculture book which is targeted for 2050 in keeping with Government policy."

Supporting customer transition

The bank confirmed that it is continuing to work with all customers on the required transition to net zero through the availability of products, propositions, sector supports and partnerships.

"We are continuing to integrate ESG [environmental, social and governance] factors across our business – including within our credit policies – for all our customers," said the spokesperson.

It highlighted specific initiatives in the farming sector which support the green transition, including partnering with Teagasc in the Grass10 campaign and the Teagasc signpost programme and through sponsorship of the Irish Grassland Association dairy summer tour.

Aligned to best practice

AIB’s announcement is aligned to best practice in the banking sector to support the reduction of carbon emissions and associated warming.

Danske Bank, with operations in Northern Ireland, in launching its climate action plan earlier this year also declined to set specific targets for emissions reduction in its agriculture portfolio, pointing to challenges in aligning farming emissions to specific financial products.