11 April 2020
As you read this, Westpac is rewriting its climate change policy. And it clearly needs an upgrade.
Since the Paris Agreement was reached, Westpac has loaned $5.4 billion to fossil fuels and only $2 billion to renewable energy technology. That means for every dollar Westpac loaned to renewables, it loaned $2.70 to the industry that is turbo charging global warming and the catastrophic bushfires and extreme weather pummeling Australia and the world.
Of the big four banks, Westpac has consistently loaned the least or second least to renewable energy since 2016. Westpac's ratio of lending to fossil fuels versus renewable energy is worsening, the gap increasing by 9% between 2018 and 2019, with the amount to fossil fuels going up compared to the amount loaned to renewables. In that timeframe, Westpac’s lending to renewable energy dropped by $92 million, or a 14% decline.
Westpac’s coal and gas lending in 2019 was its second-highest since declaring its support for the Paris climate agreement at the end of 2015. These figures show that Westpac is not reducing its lending to climate-wrecking coal, oil and gas and therefore it’s failing to meet its own public commitment.
Right now, Westpac is finalising the update to its obviously inadequate climate policy. Now is a critical time to tell Westpac that it must set itself on a path that actually aligns with the Paris climate goals it has pledged to uphold. This means ruling out lending to any projects and companies that expand the scale of the fossil fuel industry immediately and phasing out all thermal coal exposure by 2030.
Westpac needs to hear it from you: it is unacceptable to lend 2.7 times as much to polluting fossil fuels compared to renewable energy.