If Australia’s big banks fund new coal projects in the Great Barrier Reef, it could cost them a big pile of cash. Almost a quarter of a trillion dollars, in fact.
A new survey by The Australia Institute for Market Forces found that 11% of customers of the “big four” banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac) would definitely change banks if their current one funds a new coal port in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Another 33% would consider switching banks, which, based on the amount of household savings held by the banks, means $236 billion is at risk of being divested from the big four.
— Market Forces (@market_forces) July 9, 2014
Several coal export projects are currently proposed along the Great Barrier Reef coastline, including two massive new terminals at Abbot Point. These projects would see millions of tonnes of material dredged and dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, thousands more ships traversing the Reef each year and all to enable almost 100 million tonnes per year more coal to be exported and burned, adding to global warming at a time when we need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions.
The polling results will be a huge boost to the divestment movement, knowing that 1 in 10 customers of the big four would take their money elsewhere if their bank funds a new coal port at Abbot Point, and almost every second customer is at risk of switching banks.
Are you among the millions of customers who would switch banks over the funding of Reef destruction? Tell your bank – put them on notice!
In the past two months, several major European banks have distanced themselves from the proposed expansion of Abbot Point. Deutsche Bank, HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Credit Agricole have all stated that they will not be financing the new terminals proposed at Abbot Point. Market Forces is calling on Australia’s biggest banks to match or better these commitments.
To view The Australia Institute’s briefing note from their polling, click here.