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Keep Coal Funders Away From the Green Climate Fund

Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) is the world’s third-biggest lender to coal plant developers and continues to finance coal plants that undermine global climate goals.


Despite its massive funding of coal projects, SMBC applied for accreditation to receive money from the United Nations' Green Climate Fund. This fund is mandated by the UN climate convention to support developing countries in addressing climate change impacts.

We demand that the Green Climate Fund Board, deny accreditation to institutions that have funded coal projects in Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and other parts of Asia.

Help us tell the Green Climate Fund Board that coal funders cannot be legitimate partners in implementing climate projects in developing countries. There is no justification for the Green Climate Fund to consider subsidizing a dirty company with public funds that are urgently needed for climate action.

Dear members of the Green Climate Fund Board,

I am writing to you to express my opposition to the accreditation of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) given its history of financing coal projects in developing countries.

The SMBC is the world’s third-biggest lender to coal plant developers and continues to finance coal plants that undermine global climate goals. Between 2017 and 2019, they provided US$8 billion in loans to coal plant developers.

SMBC’s track record and its continued involvement in highly controversial coal plants directly contradict its commitment to contributing to the Paris Agreement.  They do not meet your standards of environmental and social governance.  Consideration of its accreditation application puts the reputation of the Global Climate Fund on the line and makes a mockery of the mandated objectives of the Fund. There is no justification for the GCF Board to consider giving a dirty company access to public funds that are urgently needed for urgent climate action.    

SMBC should prove its commitment to align its business strategy with the Paris Agreement by withdrawing from the above-mentioned projects immediately and making a total exit from all coal projects. It should also declare that it will not fund any coal project, not even so-called clean coal.

Sincerely,

Hi !

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Dear GCF Board real climate action starts by keep coal funders like Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation away from the Green Climate Fund

Green Climate Fund Board, please deny accreditation to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation it is the world’s third-biggest lender to coal plant developers and continues to finance coal plants that undermine global climate goals.

There is no justification for the Green Climate Fund to consider subsidizing a dirty bank like Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation with public funds that are urgently needed for climate action.

Letter to the Green Climate Fund Board regarding the application of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation for Accreditation

August 10, 2020

Dear Green Climate Fund Board,

We write to you to express our strong opposition to the accreditation application of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a major lender to coal developers with a long history of financing coal projects in developing countries.  

The SMBC is the world’s third biggest lender to coal plant developers and continues to finance coal plants that undermine global climate goals. Research finds that between 2017 and 2019, SMBC has provided USD $8 billion in loans to coal plant developers.[1] A dirty company cannot be a legitimate partner in the implementation of climate projects in developing countries it has placed into carbon lock-in for years to come. 

On April 16, 2020, SMBC announced a revised policy effective May 1, 2020, which states that for coal-fired power generation, 

“Support for newly planned coal-fired power plants, in principle, is not provided. Exceptions may be considered for those projects which use environmentally friendly technologies, such as ultra-supercritical pressure and for those projects which have been provided support before the revision.”     

There are numerous studies that show this so-called clean coal technology may be more “efficient” in terms of generating energy per ton of coal, but global greenhouse gases and other toxic substances are still produced in significant levels that are harmful to health, the environment and climate.

Furthermore, meeting the goals of the Paris agreement requires a swift just transition away from coal, followed by other fossil fuel energy. SMBC is currently considering its support for controversial Vung Ang 2 in Vietnam using ultra-supercritical pressure technology, which is an example of the exceptions it mentions in its revised policy.

Projects which have been approved for support before the new policy are also exempted by SMBC’s new policy.  These include the  Cirebon 2, Tanjung Jati B units 5 & 6, and Batang in Indonesia and Van Phong 1 and Nghi Son 2 in Vietnam. SMBC is also involved as financial advisor in two projects on Matarbari Island in Bangladesh. All of these projects are high-polluting projects that are being met by strong resistance by communities at the site, and by many climate and energy civil society groups in these countries,  in the rest of Asia and around the world.[2] 

Given SMBC’s track record, its continued involvement in highly controversial coal plants, and its inadequate new coal policy,  we cannot agree with the findings that  SMBC is “strongly committed to contributing to the Paris Agreement.” We struggle daily with the impacts of coal-fired power plants in our communities and we say SMBC does not meet the GCF standards of environmental and social governance. Approval of its accreditation application puts the reputation of the GCF on the line and makes a mockery of the mandated objectives of the Fund. There is no justification for GCF to consider giving a dirty company access to public funds that are needed, now more than ever, for urgent climate action.    

SMBC should show real commitment to align its business strategy with the Paris Agreement by withdrawing from the above mentioned projects immediately and making a total exit from all coal projects. It should also declare that it will not fund any coal project, not even so-called clean coal.


[1]The December 2019 report by Urgewald, Banktrack and 30 partner NGOs on global financiers of the coal industry found that Japan’s biggest commercial banks — Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group are ranked first, second and third biggest lenders to the top coal plant developer companies, respectively. Together these mega banks provided USD 39.3 billion in loans to coal plant developers between 2017-2019.
[2] https://www.nocoaljapan.org/smbc-ignores-climate-concerns/

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Letter to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation on their Application for Accreditation by the Green Climate Fund

August 10, 2020

We  are writing about SMBC’s application for accreditation with the Green Climate Fund.  

We believe  a corporation who has been the world’s third biggest lender to coal plant developers and will continue to finance coal plants that undermine global climate goals cannot be a legitimate partner in the implementation of climate projects in developing countries it has placed into carbon lock-in for years to come. 

We acknowledge that on April 16, 2020, SMBC announced a revised policy effective May 1, 2020, which states that for coal-fired power generation, 

“Support for newly planned coal-fired power plants, in principle, is not provided. Exceptions may be considered for those projects which use environmentally friendly technologies, such as ultra-supercritical pressure and for those projects which have been provided support before the revision.”     

However, your new policy is still not aligned with the Paris goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

There are numerous studies that show this so-called clean coal technology may be more “efficient” in terms of generating energy per ton of coal, but global greenhouse gases and other toxic substances are still produced in significant levels that are harmful to health, the environment and climate. Such adverse impact will be caused if Vung Ang 2 in Vietnam is pushed through, for this project SMBC is currently considering its support. 

Furthermore,  your new policy does not cover projects which have been approved for support before the new policy was adopted, including Cirebon 2, Tanjung Jati B units 5 & 6, and Batang in Indonesia and Van Phong 1 and Nghi Son 2 in Vietnam. SMBC is also involved as financial advisor in two projects on Matarbari Island in Bangladesh. All of these projects are high-polluting projects that are being met by strong resistance by communities at the site, and by many climate and energy civil society groups in these countries,  in the rest of Asia and around the world. 

If SMBC is  serious about meeting the Paris goals and contributing to climate action, SMBC should:

  1.  Make a swift and total exit from all involvement in coal projects and and stop  financing fossil fuels.  
  2. Expand funding on renewable energy using your own resources and making sure that your renewable energy projects are really for the benefit of people and communities.  

SMBC does not have to use GCF funds for  this purpose.  You can well afford to fund climate projects on your own.  Your company has $2.02 trillion in total assets—which is more than 206 times the size of GCF’s US$ 9.8 billion in total replenishment pledges as of February 2020.

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Endorsing organizations

  1. Action Aid International
  2. Actions Communautaires Pour Le Developpement Integral
  3. AID/WATCH
  4. Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat
  5. Aksi for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice
  6. Al Akhawayn University
  7. Alliance for Future Generations – Fiji
  8. All India Women Hawkers Federation
  9. Alvento
  10. Anglican Church of Melanesia
  11. Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
  12. Asia Energy Network
  13. Asia Indigenous Women’s Network
  14. Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
  15. Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l’Environnement
  16. Asociacion Kunas Unidos por Napguana
  17. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development
  18. Badhon Manob Unnayan Sangstha
  19. Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation
  20. Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Network on Climate Change
  21. Bangladesh Krishok Federation
  22. Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament
  23. Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon
  24. Bank Information Center
  25. Batlhabine Foundation
  26. Blum Studio
  27. Both ENDS
  28. Brawn Capital Limited
  29. Bua Urban Youth
  30. Catholic Agency of Overseas Development
  31. Centre for Citizens Conserving
  32. Centre for Environment, Human Rights & Development Forum
  33. Centre for Environmental Justice
  34. Center for Indigenous Peoples’ Research and Development
  35. Center for International Environmental Law
  36. Centro para la Autonomía y Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas
  37. China-Latin America Sustainable Investments Initiative
  38. CHIRAPAQ Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú
  39. CLEAN Bangladesh
  40. Climate Action UT
  41. Climate Reality Project
  42. Climate Strike Switzerland
  43. Climate Strike Canada
  44. Climate Strike Switzerland
  45. Climate Watch Thailand
  46. Columbia University
  47. Cooper Park Society
  48. Digo Bikas Institute
  49. Diverse Voices and Action for Equality
  50. Ecological Society of the Philippines
  51. EliteSDGs Business Consulting
  52. Environics Trust
  53. Extinction Rebellion Nagpur
  54. Extinction Rebellion Philippines
  55. Extinction Rebellion Youth
  56. Extinction Rebellion Youth Dublin
  57. Focus on the Global South
  58. Foss Mountain Film
  59. Freedom from Debt Coalition
  60. Fresh Eyes Indonesia
  61. Fridays For Future
  62. Fridays For Future Bogotá
  63. Fridays for Future Brasil
  64. Fridays For Future Dazaifu
  65. Fridays For Future Digital
  66. Fridays for future Hannover
  67. Fridays for Future Hiroshima
  68. Fridays For Future Lebanon
  69. Fridays For Future Mayo
  70. Fridays For Future Mumbai
  71. Fridays For Future Romania
  72. Fridays For Future Toronto
  73. Friends of the Siberian Forests
  74. Friends of the Earth Japan
  75. Fundacion Chile Sustentable
  76. Fund Our Future
  77. Ganv Bhavancho Ekvott
  78. Greenpeace Japan
  79. Greenpeace Philippines
  80. Greenpeace Southeast Asia
  81. Green South Foundation
  82. GroundWork -Friends of the Earth, South Africa
  83. Growthwatch
  84. Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington
  85. Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative
  86. Humana People to People
  87. IIPC
  88. Indian Social Action Forum
  89. Innoel Renewable Energy
  90. International Resources and Energies Student Association
  91. Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities
  92. Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense
  93. The Jordanian Climate Change and Environment Protection Society
  94. Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
  95. Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Centre
  96. Kiribati Climate Action Network
  97. KRuHA
  98. Klimastreik
  99. Koalisi Responsibank Indonesia
  100. Korea Federation for Environmental Movement – Friends of the Earth Korea
  101. Kyushu University, Japan
  102. Leave it in the Ground Initiative
  103. Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines
  104. Lelewal Foundation
  105. Living Laudato Si’ Philippines
  106. Mekong Watch
  107. Maleya Foundation
  108. Migrant Forum in Asia
  109. Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology Allahabad (UP)
  110. Nadi Ghati Morcha – India
  111. National Fishworkers Forum
  112. National Hawker Federation
  113. Negrosanon Young Leaders Institute Incorporated
  114. NGO Forum on ADB
  115. Oil Change Africa
  116. Oil Change International
  117. Oriang Women’s Movement, Inc.
  118. Oxfam International
  119. Oyu Tolgoi Watch
  120. Pacific Climate Warriors
  121. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
  122. Parents for the Climate
  123. Pastoralists Indigenous Non Governmental Organization’s Forum
  124. Pathway
  125. People of Asia for Climate Solutions
  126. Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
  127. Polluters Out
  128. Power Shift Africa
  129. Rajib Enterprise
  130. Rapid Transition Alliance
  131. Restore, Sustain, Thrive: Permaculture & Reforestation Australia
  132. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition
  133. Rural Reconstruction Nepal
  134. Rupantaran Nepal
  135. RwB International Coalition
  136. Sahabat Alam Malaysia – Friends of the Earth Malaysia
  137. Satria Baru
  138. School Strike for Climate
  139. Scottish Youth Climate Strike
  140. Solutions for Our Climate
  141. South Asian People’s Action on Climate Crisis
  142. Sukaar Welfare Organization
  143. SustainMantra
  144. St. Barnabas Youth
  145. Tadweer Egypt
  146. Tax and Fiscal Justice Alliance Nepal
  147. Tebtebba Foundation
  148. Transparency International Korea
  149. Trend Asia Indonesia
  150. TSV Klub Infraschall
  151. Universidad Catolica de Chile
  152. University of Melbourne
  153. UP Association of Biology Majors
  154. Urgewald
  155. Vanuatu Climate Action Network
  156. WALHI Indonesia – Friends of the Earth, Indonesia
  157. WALHI West Java
  158. Waterkeepers Bangladesh
  159. WomanHealth Philippines
  160. Women Resource Network
  161. Women’s Environment & Development Organization – Friends of the Earth US
  162. World Economic Forum Davos
  163. WWF-Philippines
  164. Youth Advocate for Climate Action Philippines
  165. Youth Advocates for the Philippines
  166. Youth for Climate
  167. Youth 4 Climate Action Korea
  168. Youth Strike 4 Climate Philippines
  169. 350.org
  170. 350Africa.org
  171. 350.org Asia
  172. 350.org Kiribati
  173. 350.org Indonesia
  174. 350.org Japan
  175. 350.org Pacific
  176. 350.org Pilipinas
  177. 350 Singapore
  178. 350.org Tokyo
  179. 청소년기후행동

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