Increasing Number of Banks Say No to Financing Coal-Based Projects

Banks like Standard Chartered, HSBC, and Deutsche have taken the first step in a set of more substantive actions towards climate change


British multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered has pulled the plug on any upcoming coal-fired power plants across the globe.

In a media statement released on its website on Tuesday, the British finance company announced that it will stop providing financing for new coal-based power projects anywhere in the world. With this step, the company has joined an ever increasing list of banks that have shown their commitment towards environment in the past, taking similar calls.

Standard Chartered’s decision to walk away from coal-based plant is in the wake of its commitment to support Paris agreement on climate change. According to the statement, the bank is also in the process of developing the methodology to measure, manage and reduce emission related to its activities. Bill Winters, chief executive officer, Standard Chartered, said in the statement, “Our decision to stop financing coal power is a first step in a set of more substantive actions to which we are now committing, in order to understand the carbon emissions our financing supports. We intend to work transparently and with other banks, our respective clients and other stakeholders to reduce the impact, over time.”

Earlier this year, (April 20, 2018), HSBC, another well-known banking company, withdrew from coal-fired power sector. It should be noted that HSBC, which is Europe’s largest bank, had significantly restricted its support for coal-fired stations back in 2011 itself. It also had stopped financing them in 78 developed countries. In a press statement on its website, HSBC stated that it has decided not to extend any financial support to coal-fired power in all countries around the world apart from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. “A targeted and time-limited exception will apply to Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam in order to appropriately balance local humanitarian needs with the need to transition to low-carbon economy,” read the statement.

Another big bank that has walked away from coal in the recent past is Deutsche Bank. In a press release issued on its website on January 31, 2017, the bank revised its approach to coal financing and amended its guidelines to coal power and mining. The release confirmed that the bank will not grant any financing to new coal-based power plant construction and will gradually decrease its exposure to the thermal coal mining sector.

It should be noted that the bank has committed to facilitate $4 billion in clean technology by 2020.

As reported by Mercom recently, public sector banks in India funded more coal projects than renewable projects in 2017. These findings were published in the latest report issued by the Center for Financial Accountability (CFA), a financial institution monitoring institute. In contrast, government-owned banks and private financial institutions invested more in renewable energy projects than coal-based projects, stated the report.

In 2017, various development banks made substantial concessional loans to assist the Indian government in its plans to expand solar rooftop installations. According to a report by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), concessional loans of around $1,375 million (~₹88 billion) were made available to domestic money lenders this year.

Garima is a staff reporter with covering renewable energy news. Prior to Mercom, Garima worked as a journalist with The Times of India and The New Indian Express. She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham and PG Diploma degree in journalism from the Times School of Journalism.