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NAB boosts renewables, but fails to limit fossil fuel funding

14 November 2017

The release of NAB’s 2017 Sustainability Report has rung alarm bells over whether the bank is serious about matching their positive rhetoric on climate change with action, failing to deliver any policy, plan or commitment to curb its escalating fossil fuel exposure.

In 2016, NAB’s sustainability report said that addressing climate change requires a “material decrease in the use of fossil fuel-based energy and a corresponding increase in renewable energy”. At the bank’s 2016 annual general meeting, Chair Dr Ken Henry indicated that NAB’s loan book should be expected to reflect that transition.

However, the figures tell a different story. NAB’s 2017 full year results, released on 2 November, show a staggering $3 billion increase in exposure to oil & gas extraction, up 70% on the previous year. Although coal mining and power exposure fell slightly, this was largely offset by increases in exposure to gas power.

On a slightly more positive note, NAB has increased its commitment to  green infrastructure, capital markets and asset finance to $20 billion over the period 2015-2025. This definitely puts NAB back ahead of its "big four" competitors, but having already provided nearly $5 billion of this commitment, actually signals an intent to slow its support for these sectors up to 2025. 

There is some cause for hope - NAB has said it is reviewing its risk appetite for a number of sectors, including coal mining, oil and gas extraction, and electricity generators. We need to act fast and get the bank to update these statements ahead of its annual general meeting in December. 

Please take action using the form above - tell NAB their rhetoric on climate change needs to be matched with real action to cut fossil fuel finance!