Apr 232014
 

 By Ryan Brightwell, BankTrack, 23 April 2014

As the Royal Bank of Scotland released its Sustainability Review last week, Scotland’s Herald newspaper reported that the state-owned bank “aims to lead from the front on ethical banking” – although it admitted that it could take them up to five years to get there.

This is quite an ambition for any bank, and especially for one whose financing for Canadian tar sands led to the bank being singled out for occupation by Climate Camp activists in 2010; whose financed emissions (i.e. the emissions supported by the bank’s lending) were recently estimated by World Development Movement to be up to 1.6 times the emissions of the whole of the UK; and which was shown by recent research to be the UK’s biggest financier of the coal mining industry.

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Apr 142014
 

 The French banking giant claims to be “combatting climate change”, yet it is the only international private sector bank supporting India’s devastating new “Ultra Mega” Tata Mundra coal power plant. By Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, BankTrack, 14 April 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) has just launched its  5th assessment report on climate change mitigation in Berlin, the most comprehensive assessment of potential solutions to the climate crisis yet seen. It clearly shows that we can stop the worst of climate change by transforming our energy systems, and that for this we must shift the patterns of investments in the energy sector now.

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Apr 132014
 

 By Amanda Starbuck, , on April 13 2014, originally published on RAN’s “The Understory” blog

This could be the tipping point for the horrific practice of Mountaintop Removal coal mining.

Just this week, JPMorgan Chase updated its environmental policy, revealing that it will be ending financial relationships with Mountaintop Removal coal mining companies.

Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas/Bank of the West have recently taken similar steps. If the other major banks commit to stop financing mountaintop removal, fossil fuel companies will have no choice but to end the obliteration of mountains and poisoning of communities for coal.

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Mar 172014
 

China’s green credit policy has failed to put a stop to the Chinese-backed Stanari lignite plant, which breaches local and European regulations. By Michelle Chan, BankTrack Chair and Friends of the Earth Economic Policy Director, 10 March 2014

On a damp winter morning, in the small eastern European town of Stanari, locals watch Chinese workers build a 300-megawatt coal power plant. For some residents, the view from the front door consists of soft, rolling hills, sleepy farms and a sprawling open pit coal mine where giant machines excavate lignite, one of the dirtiest types of coal.

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Feb 262014
 

By Michelle Chan, BankTrack Chair and Friends of the Earth Economic Policy Director, 12 February 2014

In 2012, a Chinese-owned mining company, EcuaCorriente, signed a deal with the Ecuadorean government to develop a copper mine in one of the most biodiverse and beautiful places on earth. Located in Ecuador’s misty highlands, the Mirador mine has since been the target of protests, lawsuits and resistance from communities and organisations concerned about the mine’s impact on water, biodiversity and indigenous peoples.

El Mirador is just one example of a foreign direct investment that has attracted intense controversy – an unwelcome side effect of a Chinese foreign policy that has encouraged Chinese companies to go global.

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Feb 182014
 

By Ashish Fernandez, Greenpeace and Justin Guay, Sierra Club, 12 February 2014

Three years can be an eternity for a coal company. In October 2010, Coal India, then the world’s largest coal miner, was seen as one of the most valuable equity investments in the emerging economies. With its 1.2 billion strong population and a healthy growing economy, India seemed primed to devour plenty of cheap coal. Coal India with a virtual monopoly over coal supply was set to feed this hunger and provide enormous profit for shareholders. But 2013 was Big Coal’s Annus Horribilisand even Coal India wasn’t spared.

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Jan 282014
 

 By Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 28 January 2014

Earlier this month, Bank of America participated in the 2014 Investor Summit on Climate Risk, as the “convening sponsor” of the event. While there was a lot of talk about the urgency of the problem of tackling climate change, there were a few things the bank didn’t talk about. For starters, their role in financing the coal industry.

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Jan 222014
 

 By Andreas Missbach, Berne Declaration and BankTrack, 22 January 2014

The Thun Group was formed when a group of banks came together in May 2011 in Thun, Switzerland,to discuss what the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) may mean for the banking sector. In October 2013 the group issued a discussion paper supported by seven international banks. Although no consultation of civil society has taken place and although the two-year process that led to the Thun group discussion paper seemed to constitute a “managing down” of expectations BankTrack welcomed the Thun Group’s paper as an important step. At the Business and Human Rights Forum of early December 2013 in Geneva BankTrack presented an analysis of the discussion paper that is summarized below.

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Dec 122013
 

By Ryan Brightwell, BankTrack, 12 December 2013

From the 2nd to the 4th of December, some 1,700 delegates from around the world descended on Geneva for the second UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. Gathering underneath the Spanish artist Miguel Barcelo’s stunning ceiling, representatives of states, business and civil society spent three days discussing the state of implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a non-binding global standard for preventing human rights abuses by business adopted unanimously by the UN Human Rights Council two years ago.

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Oct 292013
 
By Amanda Starbuck, on October 29, 2013, originally published on RAN’s “The Understory” blog

The banking sector has a huge influence on climate change. Behind every energy carbon-emitting utility, fossil fuel company and infrastructure project you will find a complex web of financing: from underwriting and loans, to advisory services and asset management.

For the last decade, our team at RAN has been challenging banks to take responsibility and work to reduce these emissions.

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