Articles Comments

Finance GreenWatch » 1. BANK, 9.Energy » Actions planned on banks on both sides of the world in fossil fuel protest (BankTrack)

Actions planned on banks on both sides of the world in fossil fuel protest (BankTrack)

Coal mine site in Australia.

Coal mine site in Australia.

  Melbourne and Paris, 26 February 2014: Environmental groups in Europe and Australia are planning     actions that target major investors in Australian fossil fuel projects, as     companies seek finance for new major coal mines this year.

In Australia, Market Forces     and     have announced plans to shift hundreds of customers out of the ‘big four’     Australian banks in protest over their roles as leading lenders to the     fossil fuel industry. On the 3rd of May customers of ANZ,     Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac will be encouraged to “divest” in an     effort to convince the major banks to avoid further loans to fossil fuels.

The role of major lenders to fossil fuels has been made clearer by the     release of an online interactive map,     showing which institutions have loaned the most to the fossil fuel industry     in Australia since 2008. ANZ was top of the list, having loaned AU$6.5     billion to coal, gas and oil companies and projects since 2008.     Commonwealth Bank was second ($5.0 billion loaned since 2008), and NAB     third ($4.4 billion). Westpac, who recently won the most sustainable firm     award in Davos, was seventh on the overall list, having loaned just under     $3 billion.

The public action comes in response to recent approvals of coal projects,     including ports that would dredge and dump 3 million tonnes of cubic metres     of spoil in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
“Our governments have failed us, and now it’s up to Australians to take     action that ensures their money won’t be used to fund these new dirty     fossil fuel projects”, said Market Forces Lead Campaigner Julien Vincent.

Charlotte Wood,     Australia Campaigns Director said “In 2014, the fossil fuel industry will     be fighting harder than ever to get a raft of new expansion projects off     the ground – from Maules Creek mine in New South Wales’s Leard State Forest     to coal and gas ports on the Great Barrier Reef – they’ll be turning to our     banks to help them out.”

“If our banks won’t divest from fossil fuels then it’s time for us to divest     from them and put our money into financial institutions who aren’t funding     community, climate and ecosystem devastation.”

“If history is any guide, the big four banks will be critical in     determining the future of coal and gas projects that are currently on the     table. This makes customers of the big four banks very powerful, and if     they don’t want their money helping to destroy the Reef and drive climate     change, there’s never been a better time to speak up”, said Mr Vincent.

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator with BankTrack international network said “This     information leaves banks nowhere to hide: their dodgy deals are out in     public and communities on different sides of the planet are working to stop     these sorts of dirty coal loans happening again”.

For instance, French bank Société Générale loaned AU$1.3 billion to fossil     fuel projects and companies in Australia since 2008 and is assisting Indian     conglomerate GVK look for finance for its recently approved Alpha Coal     project, a 30 million tonne per year coal mine in the as yet untapped     Galilee Basin region of Australia.

Friends of the Earth France Private     Finance Campaigner Lucie Pinson said: “In France, we are mobilising against     Société Générale and its involvement in the Alpha Coal project in the     Galilee Basin. The support of the French bank to such destructive projects     on the other side of the world is not acceptable and we will keep opposing     it, starting with a new national day of action on March 15”.

The interactive map can be found at


Further information and interviews
In Australia, Julien Vincent, Market Forces Lead Campaigner – +61 (0)419     179 529
In Australia, Charlotte Wood, Australia Campaigns Director – +61     (0)427 485 233
In France, Yann Louvel, BankTrack Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator –     +33 (0)6 88 90 78 68
In France, Lucie Pinson, Friends of the Earth France Private Finance     Campaigner – +33 (0)9 72 43 92 62

Filed under: 1. BANK, 9.Energy