Elsa Lee, Greenpeace Senior Business Advisor
Tel: +852 2854 8320
Polly Wong, Greenpeace Communications Officer
Tel: +852 2854 8340
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Twenty Greenpeace Hong Kong activists took action at Standard Chartered's Hong Kong headquarters today, just hours before the company's annual general meeting in London, urging the bank to end its association with one of the world's largest coal mines threatening the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef. Activists displayed a stair banner using a dead fish in a new spin on the bank's logo in front of the building.
"Scientists have long warned that coal expansion is not compatible with a healthy reef and climate change is the greatest long-term threat to one of the world's great natural wonders. Standard Chartered must live up to its own sustainability policies and follow other global banks that are distancing themselves from this destructive mega coal mine," said Greenpeace's Senior Business Advisor Elsa Lee.
"Besides the obvious environmental problems arising from the Carmichael mine, the financial advisory role that Standard Chartered is playing for the project carries massive economic and reputational risks for the bank and its shareholders. This issue ought to be on top of Mr Bill Winters agenda as he gets ready to take the top job at Standard Chartered later this month."
Standard Chartered is currently advising the coal miner Adani, which plans to develop the Carmichael mine in Australia and expand the Abbot Point coal port in north-east Australia by dredging up millions of tonnes of seafloor in the World Heritage Area. The expanded port would also send hundreds of extra coal ships through the Reef, increasing the risk of accidents and oil spills.
The World Heritage site is already under enormous threat from climate change and any additional coal industry project along the Great Barrier Reef will significantly contribute to its decline and negatively impact on the health of its precious underwater ecosystem.
"There is growing concern about the future of coal and smart money is pulling out of the sector to avoid their capital from becoming stranded. Only short-sighted banks and investors would continue to turn a blind eye to the risks of continued fossil fuel extraction," said Elsa Lee.
Indeed, 11 international banks, including Standard Chartered's competitor HSBC and Morgan Stanley have publicly stated that they will not finance the Carmichael coal mine if they were asked to.
The annual general meeting of Standard Chartered will take place in London later today, where shareholders of the bank will meet with top management to discuss the bank's performance.
Photo link: http://bit.ly/reef-action
The 11 international banks include Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Citi Group, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale and Barclays.