Climate strikers were out in force last week for the latest global strike, and Standard Chartered was firmly in their sights.
At protests around the world, strikers called out the bank for its continued involvement with fossil fuel companies. Coal is a particular problem for Standard Chartered – despite claiming to have a ‘no to coal’ policy, it has invested billions in companies and projects in Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere.
Take the Philippines, for instance. Strikers in Manila brandished a giant cheque representing the amount Standard Chartered has invested in Filipino coal. Between 2016 and 2020, the bank provided $1.6 billion in loans and underwriting services to companies planning new coal plants in the country.
Globally, Standard Chartered has sunk even more into fossil fuels. The latest report into big banks and their fossil habits reveals that Standard Chartered provided over $7 billion in 2020, and $31.4 billion since 2016.
These strikes are part of the ongoing Fridays for Future campaign, demanding that Standard Chartered rethink its policies on coal and other fossil fuels. Recently, Filipino activist Mitzi Jonelle Tan published an open letter to CEO Bill Winters, painting a stark picture of life on the frontline of the climate crisis being fuelled by Standard Chartered’s investment decisions.
This ongoing pressure is being felt by the banks. HSBC has suggested an end to coal financing and, although it still has to produce a solid plan, this is a direct result of work by people and groups around the world pressing for an end to fossil fuel financing.