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ESG Claims

Reported in Bloomberg Green "Lawyers are bracing for an increase in ESG-related cases as corporate disclosure requirements stiffen around the world." Read the story here



Standard Chartered and EACOP

SC say: "Our vision is to be the world's most sustainable and responsible bank. We're committed to sustainable and economic development through our business, operations and communities"

We say: Between 2016 and 2020 SC provided £234m in financing for Total and $67m for CNOOC. They are the main funders of EACOP. SC say: "With any project of this type we undertake thorough due diligence to ensure detailed understanding of the proposal and alignment to the international environmental and social standards laid out in our Position Statements. These incorporate the IFC Performance Standards and Equator Principles, and require robust approaches to topics including climate impact assessment and community consultation. We are currently working with Total and partners to undertake this due diligence."

2 years later it's still going on. Are they looking for a way out or for a way of carrying on with the project - one which many many other banks and insurance companies have pulled out of.

Building the longest heated oil pipeline in the world is expensive work and Total and CNOOC can’t do it alone. 

They are seeking a $2.5 billion loan from some of the world’s largest commercial banks to get this project off the ground.

Standard Bank, through its subsidiary Stanbic Uganda, along with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Sumitomo Mitsui Bank (SMBC), are acting as financial advisors to the project. These banks are expected to serve as lead arrangers, meaning that they will need to approach other banks to co-finance the deal.

We’ve drawn up a list of the top recent financiers of Total and CNOOC that are likely to be approached to join the loan. Members of the #StopEACOP alliance have written to each of these banks urging them to publicly rule out supporting EACOP in any way.

Read more about it here


HSBC at it again: misleading customers

City A.M. understands that a preliminary, unpublished decision by the advertising regulator rules that a number of HSBC’s climate-focused ads are misleading, and that the watchdog demands that future marketing must not omit significant information about its contribution to rising emissions.



vanguard asset management

Roll up, roll up .... at Vanguard we have some fantastic Sustainable Life Funds for you ... you can invest with us safe in the knowledge that our Sustainable Life Funds will not be investing in any fossil fuels. Not much to expect but .... hang on a minute ....

Vanguard is the world's largest investor in coal ($86bn), 

one of the 23 biggest investors in oil and gas in the world, refusing to set any interim emission reduction targets, 

voting against 80% of environmental shareholder resolutions, 

funding at least $15.1 million to 34 groups belonging to the 'climate change counter movement' and $401,000 in donations to 5 organisations identified as hate groups, 

funding at least £4.3 million in donations to groups with links to climate action delay groups in the uk, 

not providing an official policy in place to safeguard indigenous rights, 

investing $27 billion in deforestation-risk agribusiness companies (palmful, paper/pulp, rubber, timber, cattle and soy) 

Unregulated and unaccountable: funding the climate crisis whilst delaying action.

Vanguard's Sustainable Life Funds Are Greenwash:

There are no policies in place to exclude the funding of:

  • Offshore Oil and Gas, 

  • Fossil Fuel Expansion

  • Arctic Oil and Gas

  • Fracked Oil and Gas

  • Liquified Oil and Gas

  • Non-extractive Tar Sands Oil Companies

  • Companies Trading Coal

  • Deforestation

  • Industrial Agriculture

  • Human rights Abuses

The exclusion policies that are in place around coal mining, coal burning and tar sand oil extraction are weak and full of loop holes

Vanguard has 0.38% of their funds in sustainable ESG funds. Read more here


J P Morgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase Tops Dirty List Of 35 Fossil Fuel-Funding Banks:

JPMorgan Chase contributes more money towards fossil fuel industries than any other bank, putting a total of $268 billion into coal, oil and gas firms over the last four years, according to a new study. 

In total, the world’s biggest banks have put $2.7 trillion into those industries since the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to the Banking on Climate Change 2020 report, which tracked data on 35 private financial institutions. 

Read the story here

JPMorgan Chase are investing £1million in greenwashing their reputation by convincing the Literacy Trust to let them sponsor a children's literacy programme and roping in Childrens' Laureate and How To Train Your Dragon legend Cressida Cowell to endorse the scheme, called (without a hint of irony) 'Chase Rewarding Futures'.

The Literacy Trust describe the collaborator "Building on JPMorgan Chase’s decades-long support for local communities in the UK ..." (or alternatively "Building on JPMorgan Chase's decades long support for climate destroying industries in the UK and around the world")

The climate profiteers, who made a profit of $123 billion in 2020, are the world's most destructive bank, investing $268 billion into coal, oil and gas in the last four years, according to Forbes:   The bank are destroying the futures of the very children they are using as marketing tools in one of the most cynical bits of greenwashing we've seen.  Why not ask @cressidacowell and @Literacy_Trust to protect their readers and stop providing cover to the worst of all the investors in climate and ecological disaster.


Wall Street banks

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan is one of the members of the US CFWG: 

The coalition of banks, insurers and Wall Street trading firms making up the so-called U.S. Climate Finance Working Group say they back the international goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, but that officials should resist growing pressure to use banking regulation to restrict financing to certain industries. "We have to have a balanced, fair transition across the globe and realize it's going to take time and investment and innovation," Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said at the virtual event hosted by the Institute of International Finance. "And that's what capitalism brings."

Moira Birss, a leader of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition, which is calling on lenders and insurers to stop supporting fossil fuel production, said "if we leave climate policy up to Wall Street firms, we won’t get the rapid decarbonization necessary for a livable planet." 

"Since Wall Street is unwilling to shift capital from the very industries causing this planetary crisis, the Biden administration must use its supervisory and regulatory power to force them to do so, for the good of the financial system and the planet," she said.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, one of finance's most outspoken advocates for using markets to address climate risk, warned against "a full divestiture of hydrocarbons," which he called "greenwashing." "It doesn't change the net-zero of the world," he said. "If a public company sells off a lot of their hydrocarbon business to a private entity, the world doesn't change."

So, we have a new definition of greenwashing - which doesn't apply to banks who carry on supporting fossil fuels as long as they say they do???

read more:


HSBC bigger than Climate change

Noel Quinn says "Climate Change  is bigger than any institution or industry"

Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC, says in coming together, we recognise the critical role our organisations play in the fight against it. [we are] committed to accelerating efforts within the banking sector, recognising its catalytic role across all industries, to move towards a net-zero economy.” more here

Well done Mr Quinn, you have been invited by HRH The Prince of Wales, along with executives from some of the world’s largest banks, to join the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s (SMI) Financial Services Taskforce (FSTF), to develop meaningful plans to help accelerate a transition to a sustainable future.

Fantastic. It's just a shame that although HSBC's 2020 fossil fuel investment was slightly down on 2019,  between 2016 and 2020, HSBC invested $110 billion in financing fossil fuels. That's since the Paris Agreement. It'll be interesting to see what happens in 2021 when the world economies start to return to pre-pandemic levels. (Update: $19.7b in 2021 and  $11b in 2022) Figures from: banking on climate chaos


HSBC climate change adverts banned by uk watchdog

The UK's advertising regulator has banned two HSBC advertisements for being "misleading" about the company's work to tackle climate change.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the banking giant can no longer run the ads which promoted its plans to reduce harmful emissions.

The watchdog said that the posters "omitted material information" about HSBC's activities.

It marks the ASA's first action against a bank for so-called "greenwashing". An HSBC spokesperson told the BBC that "The financial sector has a responsibility to communicate its role in the low carbon transition to raise public awareness and engage its customers. "We will consider how best to do this as we deliver our ambitious net zero commitments," they added. Greenwashing - branding something as eco-friendly, green or sustainable when this is not the case - misleads consumers into thinking they are helping the planet by choosing those goods or services.

In East Africa, an engineering company is preparing to start work on the construction of an environmentally devastating oil pipeline that threatens to derail vital targets set out in the Paris Agreement. And in the north of India, one of the world's largest cement companies - which last year emitted more CO2 than Greece - has applied to clear a large swathe of forest less than a kilometre away from a wildlife sanctuary.

All these companies' operations have not only been facilitated by HSBC - which claims it is "helping to lead the transition to a more sustainable world" - but have benefitted from deals that the bank has labelled sustainable finance.

HSBC has committed to contribute up to $1trillion in sustainable financing and investment by 2030. However, the Bureau can reveal that billions of dollars being counted towards this target are in fact helping to fuel the climate crisis.

Story in the Guardian

Story on the BBC


Is This The Greenwash Of The Year?

We seem to have uncovered what's being called the "Greenwash of the Year." BNP Paribas and ADM Capital sold $95 million of "green" bonds to global investors to finance an "eco-friendly" rubber plantation in Sumatra. What they didn't reveal to investors was that the monoculture rubber plantation was replacing thousands of hectares of tiger, elephant and orangutan habitat that had just been bulldozed by Michelin's local partner RLU. In other words, the investors were duped into providing millions of dollars of "green finance" to support planting on recently deforested land in one of the most biodiverse hotspots on the planet.

read the story here

COMPLICIT: AN investigation into deforestation at Michelin's Royal Lestari Utama Project in Sumatra, Indonesia


Blackrock - What About Their ESG Funds ?

Reported in the FT (6 Dec) , Bluebell (who have a stake in Blackrock) contended that BlackRock had changed positions several times on investing in thermal coal production while failing to live up to Fink’s widely publicised sustainability commitments.

“The contradictions and apparent hypocrisy of BlackRock’s actions have . . . politicised the ESG debate,” they wrote. “The reputational damage of being dragged into this politically charged debate, in our view, is very significant because it calls into question the independency of BlackRock as an asset manager.” The Bluebell partners added that it had “direct experience . . . [with] BlackRock’s inconsistent approach”.

They said BlackRock failed to support Bluebell’s position on environmental shareholder resolutions at mining and commodities group Glencore and chemicals group Solvay.

And reported on Bloomberg a year ago :  A story from a whistleblower on Blackrock:

"In the two years he spent running “sustainable investing” at BlackRock, the largest money manager in the world, Tariq Fancy was an evangelist for the idea that capitalism can help save the planet from global warming. Now he’s an apostate, convinced that one of the fastest growth areas in financing is a sham. “It’s clear to me now,” he writes in a recent three-part essay in Medium, that my work “only made matters worse by leading the world into a dangerous mirage, an oasis in the middle of the desert that is burning valuable time.” Blackrock here on Reuters

Watch a discussion on ESG funds and Blackrock here


ESG Funds: Real or Greenwash ?

Bloomberg reports that 'a Class-Action Wave is coming for ESG claims"'. They say 'The key reasons are the absence of clear environmental, social and governance metrics and requirements, and the heightened regulatory scrutiny on  the importance of ESG.' Read the story here

Not really surprising when you realise up until now companies have been able to call investments 'green' or 'ESG' with no real evidence. About time someone took steps to stop the Greenwashing.


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