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Environmental record of Chinese banks & company responses - August 2011

On 17 July 2011, South China Morning Post reported that the four largest Chinese banks had drawn widespread criticism for their financing of projects overseas and named Industrial and Commerical Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank, China Merchants Bank, and Bank of China for project financing that had drawn particularly strong criticism. See "Listed Banks Low on 'Green Credit'", Toh Han Shih, South China Morning Post, 17 Jul 2011. Those concerns include ICBC's financing of the Gibe III dam in Ethiopia, the China Construction Bank and China Merchant Bank's financing of Zijin mining's Rio Blanco project in Peru, and Bank of China's financing of China National Petroleum Corporation's (CNPC) Shwe gas project in Myanmar (Burma).

A second article, "Hard slog to greener banks", appeared in China Dialogue on 29 July 2011.  It also named ICBC, China Construction Bank, Bank of China and Bank of Communications for their role in the controversial Canadian oil sands project being undertaken by CNPC, Sinopec, and the China Investment Corporation.  The article also criticises Shenzhen Development Bank for ranking the lowest of 14 listed banks for its policies and practices on "green credit", including "disclosure of environmental information, existence of a dedicated environmental department, loans to high polluting and energy-consuming projects".  

Both articles draw from a recent report, "Environmental Credit of Chinese Banks" [PDF], issued by Green Watershed and nine other Chinese environmental NGOs.  (See pages 25-26 for the criticism of these banks.)

Company responses:

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the banks named in the two articles to respond.  
- Bank of China did not respond
- Bank of Communications did not respond
- China Construction Bank did not respond
- China Merchants Bank responses [DOC]
- Shenzhen Development Bank response [DOC] (new)

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) - The Resource Centre previously invited ICBC to respond to allegations regarding its financing of the Gibe III dam.  ICBC did not send a response.  ICBC had previously sent a statement to CBS News saying, "Credit and loan for all projects conforms to environmental requirements."  See  "Gibe III dam projects in Kenya and Ethiopia, and company responses", compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

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