Carbon footprints of lending and bank performance: international evidence from panel data
The paper studies the interaction between a set of bank performance indicators (concentration, profitability, and risk) and the carbon footprint of bank loans. Our research builds on the panel data analysis for 37 countries during 2010–2018, adopting local projections proposed by Jordá (Am Econ Rev 95(1):161–182, 2005), a feasible alternative to panel VAR estimation in case of short time series. In order to account for potentially different patterns in the relationship among the indicators, we split the whole panel into two sub-panels, using K-means clusterization based on income level, resource abundance, and overall environmental performance. For the whole panel, the carbon footprint is driven by systemic risk, while leading the non-performing loans (NPL) ratio and Z-score. Thus, curbing systemic risk matters to reduce the carbon footprint of bank loans. Otherwise, it may amplify the effects of the latter on the NPL ratio and Z-score. Interestingly, the effect of systemic risk on the carbon footprint stems from the sub-panel consisting of developed countries, while the effect of the carbon footprint on the NPL ratio and Z-score is mainly shaped by developing and emerging market economies. The relationships between the carbon footprint of lending, concentration, and profitability are much less pronounced both for the whole panel and for the sub-panels.