In ‘Australian banks financing coal and renewable energy‘, a research paper prepared for Greenpeace Australia Pacific by Dutch economic research consultants, Profundo www.profundo.nl, it was revealed that the ANZ bank is the biggest financier of coal fired power stations and coal mines in Australia. Over the last five years, for every $1 ANZ invested in renewable energy, it invested $6.40 in coal. In fact, the ANZ bank invested a total of $1.7 billion of its depositors’ funds into coal projects during that time.
On December 15 and 16, 2010, in the first action of a sustained campaign, members of Climate Action Sydney Eastern Suburbs (CASES) visited the branch managers at Randwick and Bondi Junction branches, and asked them to request their CEO Mike Smith, to commit ANZ not to finance new coal power stations, but instead to plough depositors’ funds into renewable energy projects. CASES members also spent several hours outside the branches handing leaflets to ANZ customers and the general public, encouraging them to express their concerns to the ANZ about its financing of carbon pollution.
Despite their massive investment in the most polluting form of power, namely coal, ANZ loudly trumpeted that it had, for the fourth consecutive year, been awarded the title of the most globally sustainable bank in the 2010 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) yet, at the same time, they were secretly negotiating a $150 million contract to refurbish a 40 year old and very dirty Muja A & B coal-fired power plant in Collie in WA!
ANZ customers may take pride in the fact that their bank has been ranked so highly for its environmental commitment. However, ANZ is really is a pillar of pollution because it finances more coal in Australia than any other bank. In 2007, ANZ set the objective of becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2009. They have clearly failed in this task. In its Equator Principles statement, the ANZ has also “committed to fund only new projects that can be developed and operated according to sound social and environmental standards” http://www.anz.com/aus/values/environment/Equator.asp. ANZ needs to stop the spin and start matching rhetoric with real action.
“During the global financial crisis, the Australian people supported their banks when our financial system was in jeopardy. Now, while our planet remains at risk due to irresponsible investment in non-renewable, polluting power sources, it’s time for the banks to stand up for real sustainability and invest in renewable energy such as solar thermal, geothermal and wind” said Gregory John Olsen, CASES member.
Please have a look at our article on Street Corner and comment if you wish.