Monday, March 7, 2016

Civil Society cautions against channeling climate funds through banks that fund coal

Green Climate Fund must say no to partnerships with HSBC, CréditAgricole

Songdo, South Korea --The Green Climate Fund (GCF) must not channel its money through two scandal-ridden international commercial banks that are leading funders of the coal industry, say civil society groups at a meeting of the GCF’s Board in Songdo, South Korea.

The groups say that the GCF must reject applications for accreditation by big banks HSBC and CréditAgricole. Accredited entities are institutions approved to receive and manage GCF funds.

"The Green Climate Fund Board must reject HSBC and CréditAgricole. Creating new business for big banks with large fossil fuel portfolios and poor records on human rights and financial scandal would undermine the very purpose of the Fund,” said Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth U.S.

"To accredit HSBC and CréditAgricole is to short-change the vulnerable communities and the countriesthat the Fund is meant to directly benefit. There is no profit to be made in building the resilience of thoseadversely impacted by climate change. Public funds must be used to support local communities in developing countries, not to subsidize big banks,” said Sam Ogallah of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.

The GCF’s mandate to work directly with developing country institutions is what makes it innovative, the groups say. Targeted funding will help to build skills and expertise in poor countries, allowing governments to better meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people in their countries.

“Accrediting HSBC and CréditAgricole would be inconsistent with both the Paris Agreement, and with upholding high human rights standards. Any private sector partner of the GCF must have a credible strategy in place to make its entire portfolio and operations consistent with keeping global temperature rise to no more than 2°C, let alone well below 1.5 °C,” said Annaka Peterson of Oxfam.

“The accreditation of these banking giants would jeopardize the reputation of the Green Climate Fund and expose it to unnecessarily high fiduciary risk. HSBC and CréditAgricole provided US$7 billion and US$9.5 billion, respectively, to the coal industry between 2009 and 2014, and their coal financing does not show a clear downward trend. Moreover, HSBC is deeply embroiled in massive financial scandal,” said Yann Louvel of BankTrack.

A U.S. judge recently ordered the release of a report by an independent monitor overseeing the cleanup of HSBC’s massive money laundering -- the report is said to be so damning that it would provide a “road map” for criminals seeking to launder money and finance terrorism.[1] 

172 NGOs released a statement calling for the rejection of HSBC and CréditAgricole by the GCF. A copy of the statement can be found here. Appended to the statement are annexes on the fossil fuel financing trends of HSBC and CréditAgricole, both of which fail to show a clear downward trend, while their renewables financing trails far behind their fossil fuel financing.
Images from the social media campaign calling for the GCF Board to reject HSBC and CréditAgricole can be found here:
·         HSBC and drug money laundering


For interviews or more information please contact:
v  In Korea:
·         Karen Orenstein, Friends of the Earth U.S., +1-202-640-8679,
·         Sam Ogallah,Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, +254 712 612 662,
·         Annaka Peterson, Oxfam, +1-202-412-7352,
v  On CréditAgricole: Lucie Pinson, Les Amis de la Terre France, +33 (0)6 79 54 37 15,
v  On HSBC: Yann Louvel, BankTrack, +33 688 907 868,

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