Subscribe to our newsletter

Labor missed a trick with mortgages :
Banks under pressure on fossil fuel lending

Banks under pressure on fossil fuel lending

Tim Stewart
— 1 minute read

Australia’s major banks should be more transparent about their fossil fuel lending activities given their public support for limiting climate change, argues researcher CAER.

All four of the major Australian banks have publicly supported the international agreement of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference to limit global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Speaking to InvestorDaily, CAER chief executive Julia Leske said Australia’s major banks have been at the forefront internationally when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies.


“However, they haven’t been very good at communicating how they’re considering sustainability principles within their loan books,” Ms Leske said.

It is not clear how the decision-making process of the loan businesses within Australia’s banks is influenced by the environmental, social and governance (ESG) teams, she said.

“They’re sitting in different silos. They all have big ESG and sustainability teams. They’re doing a heap of work and work really hard in those areas, it’s just [a question of] how integrated is it in some of the processes,” Ms Leske.

The closed-lipped approach of the banks to their lending activities was evident at Westpac’s annual general meeting on Friday, 9 December.

Fund manager Australian Ethical asked Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted if the bank intended to lend money to the controversial Adani Carmichael coal mine in north Queensland.

While Mr Maxsted refused to rule out a loan to the Carmichael project, he did say Westpac “would not lend” if it was inconsistent with the bank’s move towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

Environmental lobby group Market Forces says Australia’s big four banks have lent $5.6 billion to the fossil fuel sector since the December 2015 Paris climate change agreement.

Since the 2 degree commitment, CBA has lent the most to the fossil fuel industry at $2.2 billion, followed by ANZ ($2.1 billion), Westpac ($0.9 billion) and NAB ($0.4 billion), according to Market Forces.

Since 2008, Market Forces found the big four banks have collectively lent approximately $70 billion to fossil fuel projects around the world.

Read more:

Canadian Pension Plan invests in AMP Capital fund

OpenMarkets slapped with licence conditions

Virgin Money outsources super to Mercer

Perpetual names next board chair

Fed meeting won't be ‘lacklustre’: QIC


Banks under pressure on fossil fuel lending
ID logo

related articles

  • Why the opinion polls got it so wrong

    As one of the few politically conservative journalists in a newsroom chock full of left-leaning voters, it’s comforting to know that most ...

  • Labor missed a trick with mortgages 

    EXCLUSIVE Aussie Home Loans boss James Symond has described the mortgage industry’s mammoth lobbying efforts as a “case book study” in...

  • Blue Sky in receivership

    Brisbane group Blue Sky Alternative Investments has gone into receivership following the breach of its $47.7 million loan facility from US-...

promoted stories

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.