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Belgian KBC Bank to stop financing new coal-fired power plants in Czech Republic

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4 May 2018

Greenpeace declares victory as Belgian bank KBC ends its coal investments

Author: Nick Meynen, metamag.org

Activists from Greenpeace climbed the entrance gate of KBC bank in Brussels during the early hours of Thursday and rolled out a banner to ask visitors to choose either a ‘coal’ or a ‘renewables’ entrance... The heating of 40 percent of the Czechs comes from coal-fired power plants. In order to supply them with coal, mining in the North of the Czech Republic already annihilated 82 villages, says Vladimir Burt, the mayor of Horni Jiretin. KBC finances this through its banking arm in the Czech Republic: CSOB. CSOB invested hundreds of millions to the open coal mines.

... KBC suddenly indicated that it had already decided not to allow new financing of coal-fired power plants and coal mines from June 2018, but was planning to announce that later. The bank still makes one exception for existing coal-fired plants for centrally controlled heating. According to KBC, that’s a question of not suddenly leaving 40 percent of Czech people out in the cold... KBC is by far the main player for financing the energy sector in the Czech Republic and today’s decision is likely to mark the beginning of the end of decades of struggle to stop the machines that ate a whole region.

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3 May 2018

Statement from KBC Bank

Author: KBC Bank

"Fossil fuel protest by Greenpeace," 3 May 2018

Today, at the occasion of KBC’s annual General Meeting of shareholders, Greenpeace protested against KBC’s policy regarding fossil fuels investments in the Czech Republic. The facts of the matter are that KBC/CSOB has substantially reduced its coal financing from 252 million euros at the end of 2016 to 86 million euros at the end of 2017... Moreover, KBC recently decided to amend its KBC Energy Credit Policy.

CSOB CZ will exit the coal sector and the current exposure on coal-based electricity production will be reduced to zero ultimately in 2023. This means that as of June 2018 :

  • No financing of new coal fired electricity power plants and no new investments in existing coal fired electricity power plants
  • No financing of new coal mines and no financing of existing ones
  • There is 1 exception : until 2035,  - and with decreasing intermediary maximum exposure  - existing coal-fired district heating plants, which supply heat to 40% of Czech population, can still be financed to assist further ecological upgrades of these existing plants. KBC/CSOB wishes to play its role as a responsible company within the Czech economy and society.

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