Yesterday evening, climate justice organisation 350 Aotearoa released a report that exposes the relationship between banks in Aotearoa and the fossil fuel industry. 350 Aotearoa Executive Director Erica Finnie said, “The urgency to act on climate change has never been so clear. To limit the worst impact we need a fast transition to 100 percent clean energy and keep coal, oil, and gas in the ground- and right now our banks are standing in the way of progress.”
“Banks are a direct link between everyday people and the fossil fuel industry. Since 2015, our Australian-owned banks in Aotearoa have loaned over $21billion to the fossil fuel industry. Financing fossil fuels is irresponsible, risky, and immoral, and it’s time that we demand our banks to stop fueling the climate crisis.”
The report ranks seven banks in Aotearoa on their lending and investment policies.
ANZ, Westpac, National Australia Bank (including the New Zealand subsidiary BNZ), and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (including the New Zealand Subsidiary ASB) are all given an E ranking, and described as the ‘bankrollers’ of fossil fuels.
The Co-operative Bank and Kiwibank received a C based on having no current investments in coal, oil, or gas, and no current lending to fossil fuel industry, but no policy ruling out future fossil fuel investments. TSB was ranked the highest, receiving a B. “TSB implemented a policy in 2016 that excludes investments in fossil fuels. This needs to extend to lending for TSB to declared Fossil Free.”Finnie said, “We want to allow New Zealand customers and businesses to make an informed choice to shift their money away from the banks that are stopping progress towards a safe climate future. Banks have a responsibility to listen to their customers, so we want to give New Zealanders the information and tools to call on their banks to divest, and shift away from the biggest funders of climate change.”
Forest & Bird are in the process of moving away from ANZ. “For nearly a hundred years, Forest & Bird has been taking direct action to protect nature, like planting native trees and getting rid of pests. Climate change is one of the biggest threats our native species and places have ever faced, and requires a different type of direct action”, said Forest & Bird Climate Advocate Adelia Hallett. “In May 2018 we started moving our business to a bank that doesn’t finance the fossil fuel business. Saving nature – and ourselves – from climate disaster means we must make rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and that means no more fossil fuel extraction. The change was disruptive but worth it, and we want all other groups and individuals to do the same.”
The full report is publicly available from https://350.org.nz/current-campaigns/fossil-free-banks/