Keeping Euros out of dirty coal in Australia

Julien with Deutsche Bank ad

If we’re going to stop new dirty coal projects getting funded, we need to work both in Australia and internationally. Market Forces is in Europe where, over the next couple of weeks, several banks that are key to new coal export projects in Australia are having their annual general meetings.

We’ll keep this page updated as our work rolls out to call on Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale and HSBC to avoid investments in projects that risk the reef and drive global warming. Help us out by following the actions on the page and sending the same message to the banks!

Monday 26th May, 17.00

HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole have all taken positions against the financing of the Abbot Point coal port. But where are the Aussie banks? It’s time for them to lead. Take action to make them step up and defend the Reef:

Help spread the word about this campaign by either retweeting the message below or sharing the graphic beneath it on Facebook:


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Friday 23rd May, 21.55

Another bank stakes a stand on the Abbot Point coal export expansion! We just asked HSBC whether they would be prepared to match the commitments made by Deutsche Bank and others to not finance the expansion.

No less than the the Group Chief executive of HSBC said that given UNESCO’s concerns about the expansion of Abbot Point, the bank would be “extraordinarily unlikely to go anywhere near it”.

That’s two banks in two days that have made statements distancing themselves from Abbot Point!

Friday 23rd May, 20.37


Friday 23rd May, 17.05

Deutsche Bank RESULT!

Deutsche Bank made an important commitment at their annual general meeting that could help us keep many more banks from financing the expansion of coal exports in Australia. Deutsche Bank’s Chairman agreed that the bank would not consider any request to finance the expansion of the Abbot Point coal export port, given the concerns of UNESCO over the proposed expansion’s impacts on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

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Deutsche Bank WIN

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Thursday 22nd May, 19.16

Deutsche Bank’s AGM

Thursday 22nd May, 09.06

URGENT! We have less than a day until the Deutsche Bank AGM and we need your help to pressure them to rule out financing the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port.
Click here to take action – send the bank an email calling on them to use the AGM to declare that they will not finance this dirty coal export expansion.


And help spread the word by sharing the materials below on Twitter and Facebook.


MF Deutsche Bank v04xDeutsche Bank graphic
















Thursday 22nd May, 04.58

Check out this great video of the action where Market Forces joined local Basque Coast action group Bizi! and Friends of the Earth France to occupy Société Générale’s offices over the bank’s decision to support GVK’s Alpha Coal project.

Thursday 22nd May, 00.48

Tony Brown at press conf 1Tony Brown, a tourism operator from the Whitsundays fronts a media conference to explain why he will be attending the Deutsche Bank AGM tomorrow. The proposed expansion of Abbot Point poses severe threats to the Great Barrier Reef and industries like tourism that depend on the Reef remaining healthy. Tony will call on Deutsche Bank to declare that it will not finance the expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal.




Wednesday 21st May, 18.01

Société Générale has failed to withdraw from the Alpha Coal project
Société Générale’s AGM has now been and gone, and they’ve failed to withdraw from the Alpha Coal project and destructive Abbot Point coal terminal.
The graphic below should give you a taste of what’s to come.
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MF SocGen FAILED v02

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Wednesday 21st May, 09.25

Full page Financial Times ad calls on Deutsche Bank to not fund Abbot Point’s expansion!

Julien with Deutsche Bank adOn our way to the Société Générale annual general meeting (AGM) earlier today in Paris we picked up a copy of the Financial Times and what did we see on page 5? A full page ad calling on Deutsche Bank to declare they won’t fund the expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal! Société Générale might not have been very helpful at their shareholder meeting (see below), but Deutsche Bank is next and this is one example of the serious pressure being ramped up on the bank. You can help keep that pressure up ahead of Deutsche Bank’s AGM by signing the petition being run by WWF Germany and Campact, calling on them to clearly state they will not fund the expansion of Abbot Point.

Click here to go to their petition page (it’s in German) and help it reach 200,000 signatories by the AGM!


Wednesday 21st May, 08.54

Environment and Reef protection nowhere to be seen at Société Générale AGM
Tony at SocGen AGM

Tony Brown from the Whitsundays prepares to ask Société Générale at their AGM whether they will withdraw from the Alpha Coal Project due to its unacceptable impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.

Well, that was an astonishing afternoon. We went along to the Société Générale annual general meeting today with Tony Brown, a tourism operator from the Whitsundays in the Great Barrier Reef whose livelihood and industry is at risk from coal port expansions such as Abbot Point. Société Générale has a mandate to advise GVK over their Alpha Coal project, which includes the construction of Terminal 3 at Abbot Point. To build it and the other major coal terminal – Adani’s T0 – would require the dredging and dumping of 3 million cubic metres of seabed from the World Heritage Site.

Lucie Translating at SocGen AGM

Lucie Pinson from Friends of the Earth France translating Tony Brown’s speech to the Société Générale board.

We barely got in to the AGM after they tried to stop Market Forces’ Lead Campaigner Julien Vincent from entering, even though his name was on the door. And after Tony Brown travelled halfway around the world to explain the impacts of Abbot Point on his industry and the Reef, the board were unmoved, using their membership of the Equator Principles to justify being involved in the project.

It’s not good enough. Société Générale needs to know that helping to equip a project for receiving debt finance is unacceptable. If you haven’t signed the petition yet to call on Société Générale to withdraw from the Alpha Coal Project, please get on board now. This campaign has a long way to run yet.



Saturday 17th May, 04.52

Société Générale offices occupied as activists call for withdrawal from Alpha Coal mega mine

SocGen Bayonne Occupation 7Market Forces joined Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) and local action group Bizi! in Basque country in the south of France today to occupy the offices of Société Générale, the bank that is attempting to secure investors for GVK’s Alpha Coal mega mine in Queensland.

At about 11.30 am local time, twenty activists (including three “kangaroos”) went into the bank and begun a public meeting where customers were informed of the destructive impacts that the 30 million tonne per year Alpha Coal mine and the associated industrialization of the Great Barrier Reef would have on Australia’s environment and the global climate. Julien from Market Forces and Lucie from Amis de la Terre explained the raft of environmental impacts that the project would cause, from dewatering of the land around the proposed mine to the dredging and dumping of 3 million cubic metres of seabed floor from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and of course the 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide that would be released if the Alpha Coal project goes ahead.

Check out a photo set of the action here:

The bank was forced to stay open during its scheduled lunch break and, as the afternoon rolled on, more activists arrived to occupy the bank, refusing to leave the bank until it left Alpha Coal. In the end, it took the arrival of over a dozen police officers to forcibly remove the activists.

The local campaign on Société Générale over their role in supporting Alpha Coal (which we explain in an earlier post below) is continuing to build, and the next action will be the dumping of 1.8 tonnes of coal (one billionth of the weight of carbon dioxide that would be generated over the life of the Alpha coal mine) in front of their offices on the day of the bank’s annual general meeting. Bizi! have given Société Générale until the AGM on the 20th of May to withdraw from the mega-mine or the coal will be dumped in front of their offices.

You can help make this happen: Bizi are crowdfunding to pay for the coal dump and you can donate using the English language version of their page here.

You can also sign the petition to call on Société Générale to abandon Alpha Coal here.

Friday 16th May, 18.05

Bizi SocGen Alpha meeting 2Last night locals from Bayonne, a French town on the Basque coast, gathered to learn about how Société Générale was playing a key role in supporting GVK’s Alpha Coal project. Local group Bizi! and Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) announced plans to dump 1.8 tonnes of coal (one billionth of the amount of carbon dioxide that would be generated over the life of Alpha Coal) in front of the bank’s regional office if it doesn’t withdraw their support for Alpha Coal by the 20th of May – the date of the bank’s Annual General Meeting in Paris. They’re crowdfunding to get support for their action – an English version of the website is here.

Bizi! have already been actively campaigning to get Société Générale out of Alpha coal. Three “kangaroos” went to meet with the Director of the regional office yesterday and made it on to the TV news as a result.Bizi SocGen Kangaroo action

Now they’re developing a divestment campaign to shift locals out of Société Générale into alternative banks that won’t fund coal projects.

It’s incredible to see – on the other side of the planet – an energetic, vibrant campaign to challenge the investment in a proposed coal project in Queensland. I’m so grateful to the work Bizi! and Amis de la Terra are doing to help protect the climate, and Australia’s environment from so far away. You can help their work by signing their petition with calling on Société Générale to pull out of the Alpha coal project.

Thursday 15th May, 16.00

Petition to Deutsche Bank gets over 100,000 signatures in 24 hours!

Have you added your name to the petition calling on Deutsche Bank to declare they won’t fund new Abbot Point coal terminals? It got over 100,000 signatures in its first 24 hours but we need to build it as high as we can before the bank’s Annual General Meeting on the 22nd of May. It’s to the CEOs of the bank and as the page is in German, here’s a translation of the petition text you’ll be signing:

Dear Mr. Fitschen,
Dear Mr. Jain,

The planned expansion of Australian coal port Abbot Point and other industrial projects along the coast threaten the fragile ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef. The projects will industrialize of this unique stretch of coastline, putting the World Heritage site in danger

Investing in coal projects that are hostile to the climate is neither responsible nor sustainable. Your own analysts also question the economics of coal investments.

Deutsche Bank has already supported the existing Abbot Point terminal through bonds. So far you have ruled out publicly that you will support and fund the extension of the port.

Therefore, I urge you : do not engage further in the financing of coal port and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef ! Make social and environmental aspects to equal investment criteria!

Yours sincerely,

Thursday 15th May, 08.43

Is a commitment in sight from Deutsche Bank that they won’t fund more Reef destruction?

When we started preparing this campaign over a month ago, we and a host of other environment groups wrote to Deutsche Bank, calling on them to not fund any more coal export terminals at Abbot Point. You can see the letter here. We recently got a response back from Deutsche Bank, in which they said they had just introduced a number of new guidelines on sustainability, and specifically said:

One of the specific guidelines recently adopted addresses activities in the close proximity to World Heritage Sites. Notably, it precludes transactions within or in close proximity to World Heritage Site unless there is a prior consensus between the relevant Government and UNESCO that such operations will not adversely affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the Site.

This is very important, as the World Heritage Committee is considering putting the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage “in Danger” list, and are especially concerned about the impacts of new coal ports proposed at Abbot Point. Here’s some of what they had to say in their draft decision on the status of the Reef, which will be finalised in June:

Notes with concern the recent approvals for coastal developments in the absence of a completed Strategic Assessment and resulting Long-Term Plan for Sustainable Development, and regrets the State Party’s approval for dumping 3 million cubic metres of dredge material inside the property prior to having undertaken a comprehensive assessment of alternative and potentially less impacting development and disposal options, and also requests the State Party to ensure that the option selected does not impact OUV, and is the least damaging option available;

It’s clear that the coal ports at Abbot Point would be negatively impacting the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef – now it’s time to make that stick!

WWF Germany and Campact are running a petition calling on Deutsche Bank to commit to not funding new coal ports at Abbot Point. Please help by signing it!

Wednesday 14th May, 15.16

Meet the banks

We’re particularly interested in working on two banks who have direct connections to the owners of proposed major coal projects in Australia:

Société Générale
A French bank that is advising Indian conglomerate GVK over their Alpha Coal mega mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Alpha Coal would rank among Australia’s biggest mines and is tied to a new coal export terminal in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Société Générale is helping GVK find investors and it is very likely the bank will invest in the project themselves. You can help Friends of the Earth France who are running a petition with 350 to call on Société Générale to get out of the Alpha coal project.
Deutsche Bank
A German bank that recently loaned to the Abbot Point Coal Export Terminal owned by Adani. Adani also have big plans for new coal in Australia, having just received Queensland Government approval for their massive 60 million tonne per year Carmichael coal mine. And, like GVK, Adani are planning a new export terminal that would result in massive dredging and dumping operations in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Supporting the existing coal export terminal puts Deutsche Bank squarely in the frame for funding the new terminal as they now have a commercial relationship with Adani. WWF Germany are running an online petition to call on not fund the new cal export terminal at Abbot Point.


We’re also going to be attending the annual general meeting of HSBC. who despite being members of the Equator Principles, having been finding LNG plants on Curtis Island that have contributed to the World Heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef being in jeopardy. We’re going to call on them to avoid repeating these destructive decisions by committing to not funding more coal exports in the Reef.