Commentary: Banks' coal policies ineffective; Standard Chartered can lead peers by committing to renewable-energy projects

Author: Julien Vincent, Asia Times, Published on: 2 September 2018

"The power of finance to slow new coal plants", 29 August 2018

...Standard Chartered in the final stages of preparing its own coal lending policy update.

...The Asian Development Bank has calculated the economic impact of unabated greenhouse-gas...[b]ut dollar values pale into insignificance when translated into families and communities displaced, livelihoods destroyed and lives lost.

Public and private banks can literally make or break an energy project....

Sadly, though, most of the announcements...amount to little more than window-dressing.

...DBS, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB)...set..the bar so low, their policies don’t even apply to the projects they are currently in line to finance....

Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and Mizuho Financial Group go further, setting the threshold for projects they are prepared to lend to at “ultra-supercritical” power stations...this would require the banks to withdraw from 30% or more of the projects they are currently in discussions to finance. But so far they have not withdrawn from a single project....

...HSBC...ruled out funding new coal power stations around the world except in Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh. What’s so exceptional about these countries? We can only assume they’re the ones where HSBC is currently working to finance new coal.

...Standard coal policy...can demonstrate leadership among its peers by...committing itself to unlocking the capital needed to help Southeast Asia enjoy the renewable-energy revolution the rest of the world is experiencing.

[Companies also mentioned in the commentary are: Daiichi Life Insurance, Nippon Life Insurance, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank]

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Related companies: DBS Bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Mizuho Financial Group OCBC Bank Standard Chartered Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (part of Sumitomo Group) UOB (United Overseas Bank)