6 December 2014
French bank Societe Generale has withdrawn from the Alpha Coal project after months of sustained campaigning by local groups in France. A short statement was released on the bank’s website and the bank tweeted the announcement:
— Société Générale (@SocieteGenerale) December 5, 2014
Societe Generale had been advising GVK on the Alpha Coal project, a 30 million tonne per year coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, connected to hundreds of kilometres of new rail and a massive new coal export terminal at Abbot Point in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The project would have created 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over its lifetime and this was the focus of the campaign by Friends of the Earth France and local French groups Attac and Bizi! who campaigned tirelessly to get Societe Generale out of the project. A highlight of the campaign was in June 2014, when Bizi! dumped 1.8 tonnes of coal in front of the regional head office in Bayonne. Check out the video of the action…
In May 2014, Market Forces Lead Campaigner Julien Vincent travelled to Bayonne in the south of France to talk with locals about the impacts of the Alpha Coal project, and the importance of the local campaign. The next day he joined a day-long occupation of the bank’s regional headquarters.
Later that week we joined Whitsundays tourism operator Tony Brown in a meeting with senior representatives of Societe Generale, where the impacts of the proposed expansion of Abbot Point were made clear to the bank’s staff. We’re proud to have played a small part in this wonderful collective campaign to get Societe Generale out of Alpha Coal, and want to thank all those groups who took this campaign on, especially our friends at Friends of the Earth France and Bizi! This news is a huge development for one of the two most advanced projects that would open up the Galilee Basin and put new coal export terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. GVK have lost a key ally and will need to seek out a bank that is prepared to pick up their dirty coal export project after it has been publicly dropped by Societe Generale. Please help raise awareness of this important win by sharing the graphics below on Twitter and Facebook. The more people know about this great news, the more it will become awkward for other banks to go near this toxic project!