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Article

15 Nov 2021

Author:
BankTrack, 350.org Japan, Fair Finance Guide Japan, FoE Japan, JACSES, Mekong Watch, Kiko network

Japan: New report by BankTrack shows Japanese banks involved in financing fossil fuel projects under the Equator Principles

"Equator Banks involved in financing at least 200 fossil fuel projects since Paris" 26 October 2021

Addition of Japanese banks by "パリ協定以降、エクエーター銀行は少なくとも200件の化石燃料プロジェクト融資に関与〜邦銀大手3行の化石燃料プロジェクト融資件数は世界最多に〜" 5 November 2021, Japanese-to-English translation: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

New research into finance for the fossil fuel industry provided under the Equator Principles –  banks’ own rules for financing large infrastructure projects – has found that since the Paris Climate Agreement was signed at the end of 2015, signatory banks have been involved in financing at least 200 fossil fuel projects. This is despite the Equator Principles including a commitment for signatory banks to “support the objectives of the Paris Agreement”. [...]

BankTrack’s new report, “Equator Compliant Climate Destruction: How banks finance fossil fuels under the Equator Principles”, highlights eight climate destructive fossil fuel projects that have been financed ‘under Equator’ since 2016, the first full year after the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement. [...]

These fossil fuel projects include the Vung Ang 2 coal power plant in Vietnam which will not only emit large quantities of air pollutants that affect the health of local communities, but in order to build the plant large swathes of forests need to be cleared and thousands of residents relocated. Japanese banks SMBC, MUFG, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings all financed this project.

Also, the Coastal GasLink pipeline that runs through the lands of the Wet’suwet’en Indigenous nation without their consent and has many environmental risks such as pollution and diesel spills. Equator banks BMO, Caixabank, CIBC, Citi, NAB, RBC and Scotiabank [including four Japanese banks] all reported financing the project, but many more Equator banks that failed to report are financing the project. On 19 October, the Gidimt’en Checkpoint from the Wet’suwet’en Nation issued a letter to over 35 investors of the pipeline project demanding them to withdraw all support.

In addition, the Mozambique LNG project [...] is located in a region suffering from the consequences of ongoing violent conflict, only made worse by militant attacks and the use of the army and private security companies brought in to protect the project’s facilities. Crédit Agricole and FirstRand both reported financing the project, but many other Equator banks that failed to report are also financing the project [including five Japanese banks].

[Japanese banks were involved in all eight of the case studies, including the Cirebon 2 Coal-fired Power Plant (Indonesia), the Kobe Coal-fired Power Plant, and the East African Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP), and the three major Japanese banks (SMBC, MUFJ, and Mizuho) accounted for the top three of loans among the 200 cases surveyed. ]

[...]

Following the report, BankTrack is calling upon the Equator Principles to fulfil their commitment to support the “objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement” by explicitly committing to help limit the global average temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. In order to do this, the Equator Principles should no longer allow financing for new fossil fuel projects and infrastructure. In addition, the Equator Principles Association must ensure there is no room under the Equator Principles to provide finance to projects that abuse human rights, including Indigenous rights. 

[...]

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