MELBOURNE 18 DECEMBER: The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has today celebrated a successful campaign to force the big Australian banks to disclose how much carbon they finance. ANZ and NAB held their AGMs today, CBA and Westpac’s were held over the last six weeks.

All 4 banks have improved their disclosure as a result.

CBA has undertaken to disclose the carbon emissions initially from their lending to the energy sector and then all their lending. NAB has disclosed how much of its lending to the mining sector is to fossil fuels. Westpac has disclosed how much of its lending to the mining sector is to fossil fuels as well as the carbon intensity of its Infrastructure and Utilities portfolio. ANZ has disclosed the emissions intensity of its power generation lending.

Ms Caroline Le Couteur. Executive Director ACCR said, “Now that both Westpac and ANZ have disclosed the emissions intensity of their power generation portfolio shareholders can see that Westpac has a significantly lower carbon intensity than ANZ. This information means shareholders can start comparing banks fossil fuel performance using facts not guesses.

“We expect other banks will be forced to move to more disclosure rapidly from sustained public, regulatory and shareholder pressure. In particular NAB has committed to facilitating collaboration with other Australian banks to disclose more.

“There is an increase in awareness of climate risk in Australia after the Lima climate conference and the US China announcements. Investors have seen the oil price halve in recent months and the coal price plunge,” she said.

The Bank of England has started an assessment of the risks fossil fuel investment poses to the UK banking system. Shareholders realise there is a real risk that fossil fuel assets will become ‘stranded assets’ because the world has decided to move on,” she said.

ACCR is pleased that, as a result of shareholder and civil society advocacy, our big banks have decided to do more to tell their shareholders what they are in fact financing. Westpac has been, and continues to be, the leader in this,” she said.

“However there is still more to go. We don’t know how much our banks lend to fossil fuel infrastructure such as ports and rail lines. We don’t know how much their wealth management branches have invested in fossil fuel companies,” she said.

ACCR recognises the progress the banks have made and looks forward to working with shareholders and banks to do much more next year,” Ms Le Couteur said.

Media Contact: Caroline Le Couteur