Pressure builds for UK’s Standard Chartered to refuse investment to Great Barrier Reef coal project
Civil society groups are this week ramping up public pressure on Standard Chartered Bank to end its involvement with a controversial Australian mining project. Groups including Greenpeace, 350.org and SumOfUs have launched a joint effort calling for Standard Chartered to rule out finance for the Carmichael mega mine and any coal projects associated with port expansion on the Great Barrier Reef, with activities kicking off in Europe, Asia and Australia. The Carmichael coal mine would be one of the biggest mines in the world and by far the biggest coal mine ever built in Australia.
The mines would also require construction of one of the world's largest coal ports, on the Great Barrier Reef - the largest living coral system in the world. The Carmichael mine alone would release more emissions than New Zealand and Sweden combined.
Three weeks ago, organisations* representing almost 50 million members, sent a joint letter to Standard Chartered, calling on them to rule out involvement in the mines and port expansion. With little indication that their concerns have been heeded, NGOs are now calling upon hundreds of thousands of their supporters to petition the Bank and email its CEO.
"These projects will wreck one of the world's most precious natural icons and send the mercury soaring to dangerous levels. It behoves Standard Chartered to join the 11 major global banks who have already ruled out involvement in these disastrous projects," said Charlie Wood, Campaigns Director with 350.org Australia
"By ending its role as an active advisor on the project, Standard Chartered has the unique chance to protect the climate and the Reef by stopping one of the planet's biggest and most destructive coal projects from seeing the light of day," said Sebastian Bock, Investment Campaigner with Greenpeace UK
"The Reef is already under huge pressure from climate change. The last thing it needs is a massive new coal port and armada of ships traipsing across its waters. Our supporters are urging Standard Chartered not to be the bank that puts the final nail in the coffin of one of the world's most precious natural icons," said Katherine Tu, Campaigner with SumOfUs.
"Either Standard Chartered gets its brand out of this mess or it will continue to face a creative and unrelenting campaign led by hundreds of thousands of people around the world who want our Banks to say no to financing Reef and climate destruction," concluded Wood.
A 2015 report ranked the Abbot Point project the third biggest threat to corporate reputation of any project currently progressing globally (from 12,000 assessed). A recent court case in Queensland revealed that Standard Chartered had previously provided a loan of $680 million to the controversial Carmichael Mine and Rail Project - the first to be moving ahead in exploiting the Galilee Basin's coal reserves. While the bank disputes this, Standard Chartered has not publicly explained where that money has come from.
*Signatories to the letter include: Greenpeace, Avaaz, 350.org, The Sierra Club, SumOfUs, 38 Degrees, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, The Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping and Dredging, The Mackay Conservation Council, Friends of the Earth United States, Friends of the Earth Australia and Market Forces
A BankTrack analysis published today shows that Standard Chartered will only be able to involve itself in the financing of these projects by contravening its own guidelines.