Jul 092014
 

By Ryan Brightwell, BankTrack and Zachary Hurwitz, International Rivers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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