2021-04-26 Eerlijke Bankwijzer & Fair Finance International
Peter Ras, Fair Finance Guide Netherlands coordinator
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Today to mark ING's annual shareholders' meeting, the Indonesian Fair Finance Guide, Responsibank, is filing a formal complaint against ING. For years, international environmental and human rights organisations, including the Fair Finance Guide, have called on ING to stop financing the Cirebon coal power plant. But ING still provides USD 125 million in financing to Cirebon 2 and is lead arranger for a consortium of banks that collectively has provided USD 592 million to Cirebon 2.
The development of coal-fired power plants Cirebon 1 and 2 has been the subject of intense opposition because they have been responsible for environmental damage, human rights violations and corruption.
ING financed the Cirebon 1 coal-fired power plant with USD 60 million, and provided a USD 182 million loan to Marubeni, one of the companies building Cirebon 2.
Over the past six years, the Fair Finance International network has repeatedly campaigned against ING's coal investments ("French bank is withdrawing from financing a new controversial coal-fired power station in Indonesia. ING is following a good example!", "Java demonstration against coal which ING also invests in" and "ING again involved in controversial energy project").
In 2015 and 2017, ING tightened its coal policy and in July 2017, ING stopped financing of another new coal-fired power station, in the Dominican Republic. However, ING is continuing the financing of the coal-fired power stations in Cirebon, despite protests from the local population and repeated complaints against ING from Indonesian NGOs.
"ING is partly responsible for the emission of toxic substances into the environment, damage to farmers and fishermen, and deaths from air pollution,” says Ah Maftuchan, Coordinator of Responsibank Indonesia. "Every new coal-fired power station in Indonesia leads to an average of 600 extra deaths per year. Let ING take seriously and counter the concerns of local Indonesians about corruption and human rights violations by new coal-fired power stations in Indonesia. If ING does not want to or cannot then it should take responsibility and stop financing coal-fired power stations in Indonesia!"
The complaint against ING is addressed to Steven van Rijswijk, CEO, and filed by Responsibank, the Indonesian Fair Finance Guide, a coalition of 13 Indonesian NGOs. Responsibank is part of Fair Finance International, which also includes the Fair Finance Guide Netherlands.
In the complaint, Indonesian NGOs demand 3 concrete steps from ING:
- Publicly explain the exact measures the bank has taken to prevent environmental destruction and human rights violations caused by Cirebon 1 and Cirebon 2;
- Publicly explain what precise measures ING has taken to prevent corruption, and what measures ING took after it became clear that corruption played a role in obtaining the environmental permit for Cirebon Coal Power Plant 2;
- If ING is not willing or able to provide concrete answers to the foregoing questions, stop financing Cirebon Coal Power Plant 2 and withdraw from this project.
In 2017 and 2018, Indonesian NGOs wrote to ING with their concerns about the financing of a new coal-fired power plant in Indonesia. ING responded to the first letter in very general terms and did not respond at all to the second letter. That is why Indonesian NGOs are now filing a formal and public complaint with ING's official complaints desk. This complaint has also been sent to the Dutch Ministers of Finance, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, and the House of Representatives.
In conjunction with the formal letter of complaint, Fair Finance Guide Netherlands is running a campaign to raise Dutch public awareness of ING’s financing of the Cirebon coal power plants.