climate change corporate responsibility

Dirty banks: who’s bankrolling climate change

The banking industry has a big part to play in financing the emerging green economy. At the same time, it continues to finance the biggest polluters, the coal industry in particular.

On the one hand, the banks’ job is to fund industry, not to change our energy mix. Surely that should be the job of the energy companies. On the other hand, banks do have a choice about what they choose to fund, and they can use their financial clout for good if they so choose. That’s the opinion of German NGO Urgewald, who have led a study into the coal power component of 93 of the world’s biggest banks, to find out who is bankrolling climate change:

“Through their lending, investment and other financial services, commercial banks play an indispensible role in mobilizing and allocating financial resources for the private sector” they say in their report. they say in their report. “As such they are in a unique position to either further entrench energy production based on the burning of fossil fuels or to catalyze the necessary transition to a low carbon economy.”

Many of the banks accept this responsibility, and take pride in the role they can play. JP Morgan Chase boasts that it is “Helping the world transition to a low-carbon economy”. Credit Agricole claims that “combating climate change is central to our strategy”. HSBC says that it “adopts a cautious approach to activities which contribute significantly to climate change.”

So are the banks living up to this responsibility? Here are the top 20 banks funding coal power:

Since the banks have said they want to play a pro-active role in fighting climate change and transitioning to a green economy, let’s hold them to it.



  1. Um, yuo don’t actally expect banks to reject financing multi million dollar business oportunities because they mean coal will be burned do you?

    A business should be targeting making more money, not reducing money.

    If any CEO of a bank actually rejects huge business oportunitues because of coal, they should be replaced imediatly.


  2. Did you read the article? The banks themselves say they’re going to avoid activity that contributes to climate change. Either they should stop lying, or they should do exactly what you say.

    Banks can survive just fine without investing in coal. My bank doesn’t.

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