Will this mean it says ‘no’ to a $500m loan to gas company Santos?
9 September 2020
ANZ CEO Shayne Elliot says the bank will drop customers who fail to develop low carbon transition plans. Speaking at ANZ’s 2020 ESG briefing yesterday, Elliot said:
“But if we get to a point – and we haven’t yet I’m glad to say – but if we get to a point with a customer where we just don’t think they are taking it seriously, we don’t think they get it, that to us is a massive red flag”
“If we really don’t see an alignment of values, we would move to exit that customer”
“If you’re in one of those industries and you’re not even thinking about this, or you’re dismissive…we would have massive concerns about the viability of that business”
The comments were made in regards to ANZ’s initiative of engaging its top 100 largest emitting customers, “to encourage and support them to establish, or strengthen existing low carbon transition plans by 2021, focusing on energy, transport, buildings food, beverage and agriculture.”
Market Forces welcomes these comments and looks forward to ANZ dropping customers whose business plans would spell the failure of the Paris Agreement, which it publicly supports.
Commenting on the initiative Jack Bertolus, Market Forces Research Coordinator, said:
“If ANZ is serious about this initiative it must drop clients whose business plans clearly rely on the failure of the Paris Agreement. And fundamentally that means, first and foremost, not backing companies or projects which expand the fossil fuel industry.”
Research by Market Forces reveals 22 ASX-listed companies are ‘out of line’ with the Paris Agreement because they’re:
- Expanding the scale of the fossil fuel sector; and/or
- Relying on scenarios consistent with the failure of the Paris Agreement to justify their future business prospects.
According to Market Forces’ research, ANZ has loaned $1.9 billion to 12 companies in this group from 2016-2019, including New Hope Coal, Santos and Woodside.
New Hope, which plans to spend over $2 billion on projects that would significantly increase coal production out to 2039, is the subject of a shareholder resolution calling on the company to demonstrate how it will wind up its current operations to ensure capital isn’t wasted on new projects misaligned with the Paris Agreement.
According to a report on Friday, ANZ is currently arranging a US$500 million loan for Santos, which is pursuing the highly controversial Narrabri gas project in NSW. In a submission to the Independent Planning Commission assessing the project, Australia’s ex-chief scientist wrote:
“About 50 per cent of Australian gas reserves must remain in the ground to achieve a 2°C [global warming] scenario. Thus, approval of new fossil fuel development or expansion is incompatible with keeping global warming to 2°C, and will `lock in’ emissions and warming far beyond the end of mining operations.”