Standard Chartered not to finance new coal power plants

New Delhi,   Standard Chartered on Tuesday announced to cease providing financing for new coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world, following detailed consultation with a range of stakeholders.

It announced further steps that it is taking to meet its commitment to supporting the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Standard Chartered PLC “the Group” has publicly reported its own greenhouse gas emissions for over a decade, and having achieved its long-term 2008-19 energy use targets ahead of schedule, set new science-based emissions targets in August 2018.

Standard Chartered’s remaining climate impacts come primarily from the businesses and clients it finances and supports. The Group is undertaking developing a methodology to measure, manage and ultimately reduce the emissions related to its activities and those related to the financing of its clients, it said in a media statement.

As part of this, the Group is announcing that, save where there is an existing commitment, it will cease providing financing for new coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world, following detailed consultation with a range of stakeholders.

Achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement mean that steps need to be taken to reduce emissions more broadly, and encourage the development of more carbon efficient products and services.

As part of its sustainability aspirations, Standard Chartered has already committed to financing and facilitating $4 billion in clean technology by 2020, and is more than halfway toward meeting that goal.

The task of measuring aggregate emissions is complex and ambitious and the methodology will take time to develop, recognising that its impact will go beyond Standard Chartered.

It will build on Standard Chartered’s work with Oxford University to develop innovative tools to understand the climate risks of its utilities clients, and its commitment to finding industry wide solutions to these issues through membership of the Science Based Targets Expert Advisory Group.

“Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges society has to address, Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters said.

More than 1.1 billion people still do not have access to reliable power but recent developments in technology mean that alternative sources are increasingly available to meet that need without the impact of coal-fired power on the environment.

“Our decision to stop financing coal power is a first step in a set of more substantive actions to which we are now committing, in order to understand the CO2 emissions our financing supports. We intend to work transparently and with other banks, our respective clients and other stakeholders to reduce the impact, over time,” he said.

The Group also recognises the vital importance of honouring its existing commitments to clients; there are currently 14 project financing facilities in seven markets, which fund coal-power stations, and Standard Chartered will continue to honour those facilities.

Responding to the Standard Chartered announcement to rule out finance for any new coal-fired power plant projects, including expansions, in any location, Market Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent said: “This is what leadership on coal and climate change looks like.”

“Decisions about how the world sources its future energy needs will make or break our ability to contain global warming. Standard Chartered’s policy not only removes a critical source of finance for new coal power plants, but sends a powerful signal to its competitors.”