Jan 292015
 

By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 29 January 2015.

A flurry of coal news and statistics in the first weeks of 2015 have been catching our eye at BankTrack, confirming as they do that around the world the industry is in deep trouble. Nagging away at the back of the mind however, and based on our specific lens through which we assess the coal sector’s prospects, are a few enduring concerns.

Continue reading »

Jan 212015
 

By Ryan Brightwell, BankTrack. Originally published on Righting Finance, 13 January 2015.

Last month at in Geneva, at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, BankTrack launched a research report examining the performance of 32 large global banks against the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We developed 12 criteria, each closely based on the text of the Guiding Principles themselves, to assess where banks were making progress in implementing the Guiding Principles and where there were gaps, three and a half years on from their adoption by the Human Rights Council. So far, so uncontroversial, one may think.

However, the Thun Group of Banks, the informal discussion group of banks on human rights, responded to say that the exercise itself was “premature” – at least in its attempts to examine whether banks were meeting their obligations to provide access to remedy to victims of human rights abuse. Continue reading »

Dec 092014
 

By Rey Edward, Friends of the Earth, originally published on the FOE Blog on 25 November 2014.

Chinese banks are the largest lenders to development projects in the world. As Chinese banks increasingly invest in development projects overseas, will they also invest in environmental and social  sustainability? Our new report, “Going out, But Going Green? Assessing the Implementation of China’s Green Credit Guidelines Overseas”, examines the extent of bank compliance with China’s landmark, green finance policy.

Continue reading »

Dec 082014
 

 By Justin Guay, Sierra Club, and Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 5 December 2014, originally published on the Huffington Post blog.

After nearly destroying the global financial system, big international banks are yet again undermining international stability, this time by underwriting the coal industry’s devastating effect on climate disruption and human health.

Continue reading »

Dec 032014
 

RAN briefing finds pending $900 million deal threatens forests, peatlands and communities across Indonesia.

Indonesian palm oil firmpalm oil BW Plantation (BWPT) approved last week a USD $900 million share rights offering in a bid to finance its merger with Green Eagle Holdings (GEH). New stock not purchased by existing shareholders will be traded on the Jakarta Stock Exchange (IDX) from Monday December 8.

RAN released a briefing note, available here, on the controversial deal today, alerting investors to poorly disclosed Conflict Palm Oil risks.

The deal expands BWPT’s holdings from just under 100,000 ha to over 400,000 ha, propelling it into the rank of Indonesia’s third largest palm oil company listed on the IDX. However, 75% of the new land bank – with holdings in Papua, Sulewesi, West, East and South Kalimantan and Sumatra – is unplanted and includes large tracts of rainforests, Indigenous and local community lands, and areas of carbon-rich peatlands. Continue reading »

Nov 042014
 

By Julien Vincent, Market Forces, Ben Collins, Rainforest Action Network and Yann Louvel, BankTrack, 30 October 2014, originally published on Renew Economy

The proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal is running out of friends in the banking world. This week’s news that US giants Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase will not finance the proposed coal export terminals at Abbot Point bring the total number of banks to have made this commitment to nine. Even Morgan Stanley, currently in business with Adani over the partial sale of the existing coal export terminal at Abbot Point, acknowledge the environmental risks associated with the proposed new terminals and won’t provide funding to expand the coal port.

Continue reading »

Jul 092014
 

By Ryan Brightwell, BankTrack and Zachary Hurwitz, International Rivers, 9 July 2014

When a group of banks came together in January to launch the Green Bond Principles, our immediate concern was that the group’s reluctance to adopt guidelines about what can be considered “green” risked setting the initiative up to fail.

It looks like these fears are closer to being realized, as GDF Suez’s recent green bond issue – the largest green bond so far by a corporation – is reported to be raising money for the controversial Jirau Dam in Brazil, and potentially other damaging projects. Crédit Agricole, the bank which acted as Structuring Advisor and coordinator of the bond issue, and Citi, the deal’s other coordinator, were two of the Green Bond Principles’ four founding partners. Continue reading »

Jun 242014
 

By Merel van de Mark, BankTrack, 24 June 2014

In April the Brazilian Central Bank launched a new Directive which makes it compulsory for Financial Institutions to implement a Social and Environmental Responsibility Policy, at the latest by the end of July 2015. This policy should contain guidelines and principles to guide the bank’s social-environmental actions with regard to its business and its relationships with stakeholders.

Continue reading »

Jun 192014
 

By Ryan Brightwell, BankTrack and Andreas Missbach, Berne Declaration, 19 June 2014 

The city of Thun in Switzerland isn’t a bad place to travel for a meeting. Overlooked by the snow-capped Bernese Alps, by the banks of the clear blue Thunersee, it’s easy to see why a group of seven banks picked this location to hash out the details of their October 2013 discussion paper on how banks can implement the UN’s new global human rights standard, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Continue reading »

May 222014
 

By Yann Louvel, BankTrack, and Ben Collins, Rainforest Action Network, 21 May 2014

The campaign to stop bank financing of mountaintop removal coal mining is gaining momentum. For years, RAN and other organizations in the global BankTrack network have urged U.S. and European banks to stop financing the devastation caused by mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining. BankTrack members have worked closely with advocates from Appalachia — the region hardest hit by MTR — including Paul Corbit Brown and Elise Keaton from Keeper of the Mountains, and Bob Kincaid from Coal River Mountain Watch. Together, they’ve travelled around the U.S. and Europe to speak directly to CEOs and boards of banks at their annual shareholder meetings and urge them to stop bankrolling mountaintop removal coal mining.

Continue reading »