Mar 192015
 
By Yann Louvel, Climate and energy campaign coordinator, BankTrack, 19 March 2015

News this week that the Norwegian Global Pension Fund (GPF), the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund and one of the largest investors in the coal industry, divested from over 50 coal companies in 2014 has come with some unfortunate caveats attached.

While GPF’s ditching of a number of major companies involved in devastating mining practices – in particular the mountain-top removal exponents Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources – and notorious giants such as Coal India are very welcome and timely steps, these coal divestment advances were immediately compromised by the fund revealing the state of play with its other fossil fuel interests: in 2014 it increased its stake in major oil and gas companies to £20 billion. Continue reading »

Feb 172015
 

 By Merel van der Mark, BankTrack, 17 February 2015. 

Despite ongoing rainforest clearance, APRIL and its affiliate companies in the Royal Golden Eagle group do not seem to have any problems in finding money to support their activities.

UPDATE: On 26th February, Santander announced that it would stop financing APRIL until the company implemented “new sustainability measures which address its involvement with deforestation”. 

UPDATE 2: On 6th March, ABN Amro made a similar announcement

Greenpeace last week launched a major campaign against Santander for its role in financing APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources International Limited), the Indonesian pulp and paper producer described by Greenpeace as “Indonesia’s biggest forest destroyer”. Santander has been singled out for good reasons, but it is not alone in financing the company.

Between December 2011 and April 2014, APRIL and its affiliate companies secured at least $1.87 billion in financial support through three syndicated loan deals, which involved 22 known banks.

Continue reading »

Feb 132015
 
By Yann Louvel and Greig Aitken, BankTrack, 13 February 2015. 

Global Divestment Day kicks off today, and is set to feature over 400 actions across six continents on Friday and Saturday. Just a week ago, activists received a notable boost: the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s Government Pension Global Fund (GPGF), disclosed that in 2014 it had divested from 32 coal companies. Continue reading »

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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, and situated on 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 »