Dear José Viñals,
I am writing to you from a coalition of environmental advocacy groups focused on shifting finance and investment away from fossil fuels.
We’re writing regarding the anticipated update to Standard Chartered’s fossil fuel policy, as recently reported in the media. This letter is intended to set out our expectations for what that policy should entail in order for it to be regarded as credible and leading practice.
The first of these expectations is clear: to cease all further financing of companies and projects expanding coal, oil and gas output infrastructure or power generation. As per the findings of the IEA’s new Net-Zero scenario, anything less than this would mean that your policies are neither aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement nor with your commitment to reach net-zero by 2050.
Furthermore, all corporate finance and underwriting of coal companies should be phased out at the very latest by 2030 in Europe and OECD countries, and well before 2040 in non-OECD countries. Mainstream investors representing $4.2tn also recently wrote to you calling for a full coal phase out. A meaningful coal phase-out policy would entail dropping all clients on the Global Coal Exit List. Some of your peers in Europe are already exhibiting robust coal policies so it’s entirely possible for you to meet this expectation.
Standard Chartered should be also reducing exposure to other fossil fuel companies in line with the Paris climate goals, which also require steep declines in oil and gas over the years ahead.
Finally, Standard Chartered cannot rely on engagement with clients as a means of reaching net-zero. Any company that is still building out new coal infrastructure, including plants and mines, and exploring for oil and gas is not committed to making the required transition and should be excluded from financing.
A prime example is Adaro, to whom Standard Chartered recently loaned enormous sums as part of a financing syndicate. According to Standard Chartered’s own internal analysis, Adaro’s activities are consistent with a catastrophic 5-6°C of global warming. Your 2020 TCFD report also notes that all coal production components of a mining company are rated at 6°C. A company heavily dependent on coal mining/production like Adaro is clearly not aligned with your commitments, and the company does not intend to transition.
Any policy that allows for further deals such as this is not a credible pathway to net-zero. The bank can better reach these goals by excluding financing of fossil fuel developers and protecting its balance sheet. We hope to see your new policy reflect this.
We look forward to your response.
Bank on our Future
Fridays For Future MAPA