ActiveThis profile is actively maintained
ActiveThis profile is actively maintained
11 Harbour Street
NSW 2000 Sydney
listed on Australian Securities Exchange
Commonwealth Bank's shareholder structure can be accessed here.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (commonly referred to as the CommBank), was founded in 1911 by the Australian government, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1991, and fully privatised in 1996. The Commonwealth Bank is on of the "big four" Australian banks. The bank has brands including BankWest, Colonial First State Investments, ASB Bank (New Zealand), Commonwealth Securities and Commonwealth Insurance.
Commonwealth Bank's most important sustainability commitments can be found at the website sections listed below
Commonwealth Bank is linked to a number of companies and projects that BankTrack considers controversial (so called Dodgy Deals), e.g. as a current or past financier or through an expression of interest. The profiles below provide more details on the nature of Commonwealth Bank's link to these deals.
Banks and Climate
The 2022 Banking on Climate Chaos report showed that Commonwealth Bank provided US$ 7.57 Billion in financing to the fossil fuel industry between 2016 and 2021. Find further details on Commonwealth Bank fossil fuel portfolio and how it compares to other large banks globally on Fossil Banks No Thanks and in the Banking on Climate Chaos report.
Reclaim Finance tracks the coal, oil and gas policies of financial institutions, including banks, in the Coal Policy Tracker and Oil and Gas Policy Tool. Find further details on their assessment of Commonwealth Bank fossil fuel policy below.
Banks and Human Rights
BankTrack assessed Commonwealth Bank in its 2022 Global Human Rights Benchmark, where it achieved 5 points out of 14 and was ranked as a follower. In addition, Commonwealth Bank scored 0 out of 3 on how it responds to alleged human rights violations linked to its finance, which were raised by civil society organisations. More information is detailed in the "Accountability" section of this profile.
Global Human Rights Benchmark 2022
Commonwealth Bank's human rights policies, processes and reporting were assessed as part of the BankTrack Global Human Rights Benchmark 2022. The bank is assessed as a Follower, with a total score of 5 out of 14.
Due dilligence: 1/5
The bank was also assessed on its responses to instances of alleged human rights violations linked to its finance, raised by civil society organisations, for which it received an average score of 0/3. See the Response Tracking section of this profile for more details.
Banks and Nature
Commonwealth Bank’s policies for forest-risk sectors (beef, soy, palm oil, pulp and paper, rubber and timber) have been assessed by the Forests & Finance coalition, achieving an overall score of 2.2 out of 10 and ranking it as a follower. Commonwealth Bank achieved a score of 0 out of 10 specifically for its policies related to the beef sector and 2.2 out of 10 for its policies related to the palm oil sector. Between 2016 and 2022, Commonwealth Bank provided USD 513 million in credit to companies operating in these forest-risk sectors. For more information, see the links below.
Forest & Finance Policy Assessment 2022: Overall scores
The policy assessment covers the main forest-risk commodity sectors (Beef, Palm Oil, Soy, Timber, Pulp and Paper, and Rubber). Weighted scores are based on the scope of Commonwealth Bank of Australia's relevant policies, taking into account different types of financing and the sectors in which the bank is active. Details about the scores per sector policy can be found on Commonwealth Bank of Australia's profile.
A bank can obtain a total of 10 points for the quality of its policies. The total score is based on their scores per sector, weighted against their financing and investment for each sector. For further details on this see here. Based on their overall score, banks are then classified as Laggards, Followers, Front runners or Leaders, as follows:
Forest & Finance Policy Assessment 2022: Beef
The policy assessment covers the bank's policies related to beef. Weighted scores are based on the scope of ABN AMRO's relevant policies, taking into account what types and how much finance the bank provides to companies active in the beef industry. Details of the criteria used to assess the policies and scores for other forest-risk commodity sectors can be found on Commonwealth Bank of Australia's profile.
A bank can obtain a total of 10 points for the quality of its beef policy. The total score is based on their scores per sector, weighted against their financing and investment for each sector. For further details on this see here. Based on their overall score, banks are then classified as Laggards, Followers, Front runners or Leaders, as follows:
Forest & Finance Policy Assessment 2022: Palm Oil
The policy assessment covers the bank's policies related to palm oil. Weighted scores are based on the scope of ABN AMRO's relevant policies, taking into account what types and how much finance the bank provides to companies active in the palm oil industry. Details of the criteria used to assess the policies and scores for other forest-risk commodity sectors can be found on Commonwealth Bank of Australia's profile.
A bank can obtain a total of 10 points for the quality of its palm oil policy. The total score is based on their scores per sector, weighted against their financing and investment for each sector. For further details on this see here. Based on their overall score, banks are then classified as Laggards, Followers, Front runners or Leaders, as follows:
Tracking the Net Zero Banking Alliance
Commonwealth Bank is a member of the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) and has therefore committed to reduce its financed emissions to net zero by 2050; within 18 months of joining the alliance set interim targets for 2030 (or sooner) for high emission priority sectors, and within 36 months set further sector targets; set new intermediary targets every 5 years from 2030 onwards; annually publish data on emissions and progress against a transition strategy including climate-related sectoral policies; and take a robust approach to the role of offsets in transition plans. BankTrack track's implementation of these commitments in the NZBA compliance tracker.
Australia’s big four banks face human rights complaint over Santos Barossa financing
New human rights assessment of banks shows slow progress and lack of action to address key gaps on reporting and remedy
Santos announces refinancing of syndicated debt facilities
New report: Despite ‘net zero’ rhetoric, world’s biggest banks continued to pour billions into fossil fuel expansion in 2021
Banks failing to address severe human rights impacts transparently, finds BankTrack research
Australian court opens CBA records to answer greenwashing concerns
Meet the banks funding the owners of the Cambo oil field
Equator Banks involved in financing at least 200 fossil fuel projects since Paris
Fossil Banks No Thanks demands banks commit to end fossil fuel finance before Glasgow Climate Summit
Australia's Commonwealth Bank taken to court over oil and gas financing policies
Banking on Climate Chaos 2021: World’s 60 largest banks have poured USD 3.8 trillion into fossil fuels since Paris Agreement
Equator Banks fail communities on consultation and grievance mechanisms, new study finds
New BankTrack Equator Principles reporting tracking tool launched
4 out of 5 banks failing on human rights, new BankTrack Human Rights Benchmark shows
Too little, too late
NAB, ANZ and Westpac hit with climate risk shareholder resolutions
Big Australian banks face shareholder vote on coal lending
Commonwealth Bank of Australia out of thermal coal by 2030
BankTrack 2019 Human Rights Benchmark: criteria and scope announced
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority demands banks, insurers act on climate risk
Our Future: Clean energy a test for banks’ rehabilitation
Banks massively financing fossil fuels unclear about future of ... fossil fuels
Behind banks' smokescreen
Australian inquiry slams greedy banks and regulator for rampant misconduct
Big four banks quit coal only to invest in other fossil fuels, research finds
Big four banks quit coal only to invest in other fossil fuels, research finds
New research: Australian banks 2ºC scorecard 2018
Report finds major banks ramped up fossil fuel financing to $115 billion in 2017
Commonwealth Bank says its lending for coal will continue to decline
New report: Towards responsible and inclusive financing of the palm oil sector
Abbot Point coal terminal: Westpac may not refinance Adani loan
Shareholders move to force Commbank to manage climate risk
Campaign group promises climate change resolution at Commonwealth Bank
Analysis: CommBank's 2017 Climate Policy Update
CBA to face shareholder resolution on climate commitment
Commonwealth Bank's first climate policy attacked by environmental groups
Carmichael coalmine: Commonwealth Bank indicates it will not lend to Adani
Analysis: Commonwealth Bank rejects shareholder legal case over climate change risks
Shareholders lodge climate change case against Commonwealth Bank
Commonwealth Bank shareholders sue over 'inadequate' disclosure of climate change risks
'Big four' Australian banks slammed for fossil fuel backing
Public backlash highlights CommBank’s toxic fossil fuel problem
Banks provide billions for Dirty Diesel traders while failing to act on human rights, says new briefing
- Of 26 banks contacted, not one has pressured companies over toxic fuel exports to Africa
Commonwealth Bank indicates it will not lend to Adani's Carmichael coalmine
Banks' climate change talk not yet matched by action
Financing of coal industry expansion by top banks undermining Paris Agreement
New polling shows half of customers prepared to change banks over fossil fuels – as prominent Australians demand climate action
New poll: Australians draw the line at badly behaving banks
No excuse: How Australia’s big four banks can better respond to land grabs
Commonwealth pulls out of Carmichael mega-mine
Australian banks: New Report highlights gulf between renewable and fossil fuel financing
Australian banks 'favour fossil fuel projects over renewables by $6 to $1'
Commonwealth Bank under pressure to rule out Galilee coal support
Standard Chartered and CommBank pull out of massive Carmichael coal mine
Hundreds publicly close bank accounts over fossil fuel investments
Australian advocacy group sues Commonwealth Bank over climate change shareholder resolution
Australian banks face more pressure over support for coal projects
Adani arm to raise $1.5 bn in overseas debt in 2014
Big Four Australian banks lose customers over fossil fuel gamble
Bank accounts closed in fossil fuels protest
Australian banks backing companies accused of land grabs
Australian and French banks target of protests on both sides of the world for investing in Australian coal projects
Commonwealth Bank customers across Australia divest!
Stranded assets, anyone? Testing times for the fossil fuel market
Adani Abbot Point Terminal Plans $1.2 Billion Debt Issue
Sixty prominent Australians call on ‘big four’ banks to end fossil fuel investment
ANZ biggest gambler on dirty coal and gas exports
Report triggers campaign to prevent Australian fossil fuel investment
Banks under scrutiny over coal funding
BankTrack calls upon banks to Close the Gap on investment policies
Banking on Climate Chaos 2023
Background briefing: Just 7% of global banks' energy financing goes to renewables, new data shows
Letter from BankTrack and Mars se Drine to Commonwealth Bank on Rio Tinto Jadar Lithium Mine
Banking on Climate Chaos 2022
Commonwealth Bank signs up to the Net-Zero Banking Alliance
Letter from BankTrack to Commonwealth Bank of Australia on lithium mining in Serbia’s Jadar Valley
Letter from BankTrack to Commonwealth Bank on the bank's progress on its fossil fuel finance since COP24
Final Report Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry-1
Final Report Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry-2
Final Report Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry-3
Letter from BankTrack and 120 organisations to Commonwealth Bank on Demands FBNT campaign
Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Lending Commitments
Commonwealth Bank does not operate a complaints or grievances channel for individuals and communities that may be adversely affected by its finance. However, employees can make a complaint via the bank whistleblowing channel at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com whereas other stakeholders may raise complaints via the OECD National Contact Points (see OECD Watch guidance).
This page evaluates Commonwealth Bank's responses to instances of alleged human rights violations linked to its finance, raised by civil society organisations. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but covers selected impacts raised by BankTrack and other civil society partners since 2016. For the full scoring methodology, see here. For more information about BankTrack's evaluation of bank responses to human rights impacts, see the 2021 report "Actions speak louder: assessing bank responses to human rights violations".