Thea Ormerod, president of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, recently gave a presentation at Rahamim on the benefits of channeling our investments away from fossil fuel industries.
As Thea explained, “voting with our feet” when we change our banking provider sends a significant message to the banks. She believes that, while recycling is beneficial to the environment, ethical investments (changing banks, super funds) are more effective in accelerating change toward a clean-energy future.
“Investing in an ethically managed fund or super fund is one of the biggest, yet easiest, things someone can do to make a real difference on a range of environmental and social issues.” [Source: http://www.arrcc.org.au/invest-ethically]
Now comes yesterday’s announcement in the Australian Financial Review (and on the Bendigo Bank website) that
“Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has become the first major bank to publicly oppose investing in coal and gas projects, joining a number of big super funds making similar moves.”
Followed by a report in Renew Economy on latest overseas trends that call into question the viability of, and the very real risk of, leaving investements in fossil fuel industries.
Commitments by the US and China to cut and cap carbon emissions, along with South Korea’s decision to tax coal used for power, combine to create further uncertainty for Australian projects that are already financially questionable.
Our analysis investigates the challenges facing the thermal coal industry, with evidence demonstrating that it is overwhelmingly suffering structural and not just cyclical decline.
The fact that Australia’s government is not acting on carbon emissions is irrelevant because the domestic coal industry relies on export markets and we’re now seeing the governments of those nations acting decisively. The Australian coal industry is being fundamentally destabilised by actions that are out of our government’s control.
Australian investors should be cautious about backing new greenfield domestic coal projects because the reliance on export markets means they are increasingly financially vulnerable.
Tim Buckley1, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis warns
Global financial markets continue to facilitate an increasing flow of capital to renewable energy. We are also seeing an increased focus on the risks of stranded fossil fuel assets, evidenced by growing divestiture trends,” Mr Buckley said.
Choice’s current list of “Banks that don’t lend to coal and gas“
While the big four banks are all involved in lending money to fossil fuel businesses, the following financial institutions are some that claim to have steered clear of fossil fuel financing. Check the Market Forces website for a more complete breakdown.
- Defence Bank
- Bendigo Bank
- Members Equity Bank
- Beyond Bank
- People’s Choice Credit Union
- Choice Magazine’s “Ethical Investing Made Easy“
- Marketforces’ “Is your bank funding the dirty coal and gas export industry?“
- Invest Ethically (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change)
- 1. “Tim Buckley is the Director of Energy Finance Studies, Australasia for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. He has 25 years of financial markets experience, including 17 years with Citigroup culminating in his role as Managing Director and Head of Australasian Equity Research. Mr Buckley has spent the past five years investigating trends in global renewable energy.” [RenewEconomy.com.au]