Clean Energy Group: Banks provided $1.8B to coal, gas projects


A study by the clean energy advocate group Withdraw from Coal: End Fossil Fuels (WFC-ECC), revealed that Philippine banks have provided financial support totaling $1.8 billion to coal and gas-fired power projects.

In a story by the Business Mirror, the banks identified by Withdraw from Coal were: BDO Unibank Inc. (BDO), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Security Bank Corp. (SBC), Philippine National Bank (PNB), China Banking Corp. (PSE: CHIB), and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank).

The total amount granted by the banks as of March for coal-related projects and activities was up to $867.08 million for the period of April 2022 to March 2023; the majority of the approved bonds cost $594 million, and the remaining amounts were loans. 

In the meantime, $930 million has been allocated for new fossil gas initiatives during the same period. The assessment for 2023 shed light on local banks funding the fossil fuel industry.

Avril de Torres, the deputy executive director of the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED), mentioned in a statement that banks should think carefully before approving a toxic bond because doing so would contribute to the escalation of the climate disaster.

WFC-EFF Convener Gerry A. Alminaza proposed that banks implement climate-related policies, increase investments in renewable energy, and stop using conventional energy.

BDO Unibank Inc. has earlier pledged to cut its coal exposure by as much as 50% in the next decade as it shifts to funding renewable energy projects. 

Another bank to stop its funding for coal-related projects is Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). RCBC President and CEO Eugene Acevedo said the move is part of the bank’s “net zero revolution,” adding that businesses need to double their efforts to achieve it. 

Security Bank also said it will stop funding new coal projects by 2033 in support of the government’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.