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Media Release

Global week of action targets MUFG’s fossil fuel financing

29 May 2024


Wednesday 29 May: Environment groups from several countries worldwide are launching a global week of action against Japan’s largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) under the theme “Banking Betrayal: MUFG is Funding our Demise.”

This coordinated effort by environment groups highlights the detrimental role of Japanese megabanks, particularly MUFG, in financing the fossil fuel industry.

According to the “Banking on Climate Chaos 2024” report, Japanese megabanks, including MUFG, were among the top financiers of the fossil fuel industry in 2023, collectively providing more than $97 billion to fossil fuel projects globally.

Since the Paris Agreement, funding by Japan’s three largest banks for coal, oil and gas has reached a staggering $792.3 billion.

The Japanese banks have been critical financiers of gas expansion projects in Southeast Asia, Australia, the U.S., and beyond, involving themselves in the fossil fuel industry from upstream extraction to downstream processing.

MUFG is promoting a misleading “transition” in Asia that relies heavily on imported fossil fuels, often prohibitively expensive for emerging countries.

The Japanese bank supports technologies that prolong fossil fuel dependence despite high costs and lack of proven effectiveness. Through the “transition finance” framework, the bank legitimises financing for the fossil fuel industry and unproven technologies, branding itself as an essential tool for a just transition in emerging countries.

Sigit Budiono, Campaigner, Don’t Gas Indonesia said:

“MUFG is undermining a safe climate, and transition to clean energy in my country and across Asia by investing in costly and ineffective decarbonisation technologies.”

“MUFG’s ‘Transition Strategy’ benefits only the bank and its fossil fuel while imposing unbearable burdens on the nations adopting these technologies.”

MUFG is financing projects and companies that cause human rights violations worldwide. The bank claims to address human rights issues through “engagement,” but such efforts are largely superficial, allowing violations to continue unchallenged. Despite its declarations to respect human rights, the bank’s actions demonstrate minimal commitment to real change.

Rachel Deans, Gas Campaigner, Market Forces said:

“MUFG has lent to Santos, a company that’s building the Barossa gas projects in northern Australia which will release 15.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, putting the Tiwi Islanders’s pristine country, sea life and cultural practice at risk.”

“Despite the project having started in 2004, Tiwi Islanders were only consulted about the development in 2022 after they won a Federal Court case on this issue. New emissions reduction regulation also poses increased costs and risks for this polluting gas project.”

This global week of action seeks to hold MUFG accountable for its role in perpetuating environmental degradation and human rights violations. Environmental groups urge MUFG to stop funding new fossil fuels and instead invest in sustainable solutions for a just and equitable future.

For media inquiries and interviews, contact:
Antony Balmain, +61-423-253-477, [email protected]