ICLR 2024
Workshop paper

Empowering Sustainable Finance: Leveraging Large Language Models for Climate-Aware Investments


With the escalating urgency of climate change, it is becoming more imperative for businesses and organizations to align their objectives with sustainability goals. Financial institutions also face a critical mandate to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly goal 13, which targets the fight against climate change and its consequences. Mitigating the impacts of climate change requires a focus on reducing supply chain emissions, which constitute over 90% of total emission inventories. In the financial industry, supply chain emissions linked to lending and investments emerge as the primary source of emissions, posing challenges in tracking financed emissions due to the intricate process of collecting data from numerous suppliers across the supply chain. To address these challenges, we propose an emission estimation framework utilizing a Large Language Model (LLM) to drastically accelerate the assessment of the emissions associated with lending and investment activities. This framework utilizes financial activities as a proxy for measuring financed emissions. Utilizing the LLM, we classify financial activities into seven asset classes following the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) standard. Additionally, we map investments to industry categories and employ spend-based emission factors (kg-CO2/$-spend) to calculate emissions associated with financial investments. In our study, we compare the performance of our proposed method with state-of-the-art text classification models like TF-IDF, word2Vec, and Zero-shot learning. The results demonstrate that the LLM-based approach not only surpasses traditional text mining techniques and performs on par with a subject matter expert (SME) but most importantly accelerates the assessment process.