Banks: Worst of the Worst (20 Worst)

A number of NGOs have ranked the world’s ‘top’ banks on how dirty they are, based on how much money they give to coal projects. The report released by the NGOs is titled, “Bankrolling Climate Change.” Can you guess the top contributors to climate change?

Before we list the top 20 climate change funders, here’s the intro of the report:

Until now, little was known about banks’ role and responsibility for global warming. While most large commercial banks provide figures on their annual investments into renewable energy, they neither track nor publish their annual investments into fossil fuel projects. Many banks have made farreaching statements on climate, but are they putting their money where their mouth is?

This study presents new research on the portfolios of 93 of the world’s leading banks. It examines their lending for the coal industry, the prime source of global CO2 emissions. It provides the first comprehensive climate ranking for financial institutions and identifies the top “climate killers” in the
banking world.

By naming and shaming these banks, we hope to set the stage for a race to the top, where banks compete with each other to clean up their portfolios and stop financing investments which are pushing our climate over the brink. We want banks to act and we want them to act now.

This study was produced by the environment organization urgewald from Germany, the social and environmental justice organizations groundWork and Earthlife Africa from South Africa, and the international NGO network BankTrack.

In the organizations’ research, they identified 1405 transactions related to coal mining from 93 banks, which, since 2005, sent 232 billion Euros ($311 billion) to coal projects. Most of the financing, by far, is in the form of investment banking and corporate loans (the former a bit more than the latter).

Furthermore, as you can see in the chart below, financing of coal projects has been increasing in recent years.

coal projects banksNow, check out the statements of the most coal-friendly banks, followed by how much they each contributed to the coal industry:

  1. JPMorgan Chase: “Helping the world transition to a low-carbon economy”
  2. Citi: “Most innovative bank in climate change”
  3. Bank of America: “The most formidable challenge we face is global climate change”
  4. Morgan Stanley: “(…)make your life greener and help tackle climate change.”
  5. Barclays: “Managing the climate change risks of our operations and those of our clients”
  6. Deutsche Bank: “Climate change is the dominant environmental issue of our time and one where we can make a significant contribution.”
  7. Royal Bank of Scotland: “As a financial services group our direct impact on the environment in terms of climate change (…) is limited”
  8. BNP Paribas: “A strong commitment to combating climate change”
  9. Credit Suisse: “Credit Suisse cares for climate”
  10. UBS: “Addressing climate change on a global scale will require an unprecedented mobilization of private sector investments”
  11. Goldman Sachs: “Goldman Sachs is very concerned by the threat to our natural environment, to humans and to the economy presented by climate change”
  12. Bank of China: “As a responsible corporate citizen with a global presence, we are committed to responding to the challenge of climate change”
  13. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China: “As an advocate and executor of “green banking”, the Bank is actively advocating a low-carbon way of living”
  14. Credit Agricole: “Combating climate change is central to our strategy”
  15. UniCredit: “The group reiterates its commitment to the achievement of the goals of the Kyoto Protocol in all countries where it has a presence”
  16. China Construction Bank: CCB’s strategic objective is to become a low carbon bank”
  17. Mitsubishi Financial Group: “We will channel our full capabilities into working toward the benefit of the environment and future generations”
  18. Societe Generale: “As a community of 135,000 employees, we are aiming to control and reduce our own carbon footprint”
  19. Wells Fargo: “We want to help our customers and nation transition to a cleaner, more sustainable lower-carbon economy”
  20. HSBC: “HSBC adopts a cautious approach to activities which contribute significantly to climate change”

coal financing banksYeah, not exactly living up to their word.

Yet another reason to ditch your big bank for a local credit union.

You can read more on this in the full report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top