Jun 202016
 
By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 20 June 2016

The dust has now settled on this year’s bank AGM season in Europe. However, with new, progressive coal financing policy announcements thin on the ground, it’s been more a case of the dust gathering on the coal finance toolkits of most of Europe’s big banking names. And this in spite of the usual concerted advocacy from coal campaigners and the growing urgency for the banks to quit coal.

BankTrack issued five new coal banks briefings for the 2016 AGM season, analysing the advances which took place last year in the coal policies of banks such as Crédit Agricole and Royal Bank of Scotland, and pointing out some of the loopholes which remain with the potential to leave a host of climate destructive investments firmly on the banks’ radar. Continue reading »

Jun 172016
 
By Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 16 June 2016

Published earlier this week by BankTrack, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and Oil Change International, the Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2016 – entitled ‘Shorting the Climate’ – has already been making waves. Thanks to Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and many others for pushing #shortingtheclimate out there on social media: it’s vital that the call goes out widely to the global banking sector urging an end to its multi-billion dollar support for fossil fuels. Continue reading »

Jun 152016
 
By Greig Aitken and Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 15 June 2016

Big congratulations to Zelena akcija/Friends of the Earth Croatia following yesterday’s news that the long-proposed 500 MW Plomin C coal plant project in the Istrian peninsula is dead in the water.

Zelena akcija has been fighting the Plomin C project plans for five years. Over the last couple of years BankTrack has also campaigned on this ‘dodgy deal’, in tandem with CEE Bankwatch Network and Friends of the Earth France, owing to Crédit Agricole’s advisory role in the controversial €800 million investment and its expected potential key role in the eventual project financing. Continue reading »

Apr 202016
 
By Move Your Money UK, 19 April 2016

Campaigners celebrated a momentous announcement yesterday, when RBS revealed that it has ditched a whopping 70% of its fossil fuel investments in the last year alone, whilst doubling funding for renewable energy, to £1 billion. RBS claims that this makes it ‘the largest lender to the UK renewable energy sector’.

This is quite some turnaround from the bank formerly known as ‘the oil and gas bank’, which was found to be the fourth most invested UK bank in fossil fuels in our Divest! campaign, with £14.4 billion in fossil fuel extraction in 2012 alone. For many campaigners who have worked tirelessly to get RBS out of fossil fuels, such as Global Justice Now, Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Robin Hood Tax, People & Planet, Fossil Free UK, Platform and so many others, this was a moment to celebrate.

Continue reading »

Mar 242016
 
By Oleg Savitsky, National Ecological Center of Ukraine, 24 March 2016

On March 18 DTEK, the Ukrainian power giant and the country’s biggest coal company, announced its financial results for 2015, and they painted a very bleak picture. The company’s net electricity output dropped 20%, electricity exports were down by 55%, and its debt was confirmed as having reached USD 2.2 billion.

Just the week before, on March 10, Fitch Ratings downgraded DTEK’s credit rating from ‘C’ to ‘RD’ – restricted default, which is Fitch’s final rating before bankruptcy when a company has defaulted on a bond, loan or another financial obligation. Half of DTEKs excessive and decrepit coal-fired power plants are now standing idle and turning into scrap metal. Continue reading »

Mar 182016
 
By Catalina von Hildebrand, BankTrack, 18th March 2016

Last weekend, over a thousand Bangladeshis and Indians gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to take part in a four day, 250 kilometre ‘Long March’ to voice a clear message: Save the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.

The Bangladeshi and Indian governments are currently intent on building a coal-fired power plant in the Rampal region 14 kilometres northwest of the Sundarbans, widely known as ‘the lungs of Bangladesh’, and only four kilometres from the designated ecological boundary of the sprawling forest, a World Heritage site and a Ramsar protected wetland. Continue reading »

Mar 082016
 
By Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 8th March 2016.

Swiss bank UBS has been making headlines in recent weeks as the latest major international bank to be facing the embarrassment of a legal probe into alleged tax malfeasance. As a formal investigation in Belgium opens into the practices of UBS, the prosecutor’s office in Brussels claimed at the end of February that “UBS is suspected of forming a criminal organization, money laundering and serious tax fraud.”

Far less publicity, however, has surrounded the Swiss bank’s belated catching up with the rush of forward momentum from major banks which announced new coal financing policies in 2015. UBS, currently BankTrack’s number 13 ‘coal bank’ with over €11 billion in financing to the coal sector between 2005 and April 2014, has also, it would appear, started to see the light on coal. Continue reading »

Feb 252016
 

By Kuba Gogolewski, Development YES Open-Pit Mines NO, 25th February 2016.

In spite of the Paris Agreement and the European Union’s 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, Polish state-owned and private companies are pushing on with plans to develop a string of new open-pit lignite mines.

And while local communities on the front line of these potentially destructive projects continue to resist them, many well-known banking names – including some which have recently made encouraging, if belated, moves towards the coal finance exit doors – remain anchored in the Polish coal sector, and appear more than willing to prop up an industry which now appears to be on its last legs. Continue reading »

Feb 172016
 

By Ryan Brightwell, BankTrack, 17th February 2016.

As Facing Finance launches its 4th edition of the Dirty Profits report exposing companies and financial institutions benefiting from violations of human rights, BankTrack examines why banks are not making more progress towards meeting the human rights responsibilities established by the UN.

While the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are not perfect, their full adoption by the banking sector could spur real progress in business adherence to human rights standards across the board, making corporate activities which cause human rights abuses less likely to find the finance they need to proceed, and providing more avenues for victims to seek justice. Yet four years on from the endorsement of the Guiding Principles by the UN Human Rights Council, banks are still a long way from fully adopting them.

Continue reading »

Feb 022016
 

 Bangladesh’s Rampal moves forward, as bank interest in the Dominican Republic’s Punta Catalina plant and Indonesia’s Tanjong Jati B raises concerns over the strength of their climate commitments

By Greig Aitken and Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 4 February 2016

As we’ve been settling into the new year and wondering how visible and – crucially – rapid any genuine follow through from the words of the Paris climate summit would be, there’s been a nagging concern at the back of our minds: in what’s supposed to be these new, ambitious ‘1.5 degree Celsius limit’ times, what’s going to be the first major new coal installation investment of 2016, and who’s going to be bankrolling it?

Continue reading »