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Japanese MUFG commits to end coal projects financing

Coal News - Published on Fri, 17 May 2019

Image Source: The Ecologist
ET reported that global environmental groups have welcomed Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s release of its revised environmental and social policy framework which excludes finance to new coal power projects. The shift by MUFG comes on the back of Singapore’s three major banks ending coal finance. The bank was one of the world’s major coal funders and the development signals a major change in the energy finance landscape. The 2019 Fossil Fuel Finance report card revealed MUFG to be the biggest coal power funder among the Japanese banks, with financing in the range of USD 3.5 bn from 2016 to 2018. Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC Group) were not far behind.

Hana Heineken, Responsible Finance Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network, said that “After years of criticism, we welcome MUFG’s explicit commitment to phase out coal power financing and end financing for coal mining projects that use mountaintop removal. But there are glaring exceptions, which is worrisome.”

MUFG stated it may continue to finance new coal power projects depending on host country circumstances, international standards such as the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (OECD Sector Understanding) and the use of other available technologies.

Bernadette Maheandiran, research and policy analyst at Market Forces, an environmental finance advocacy group, said that “MUFG’s last policy said the bank would consider the OECD Sector Understanding. Still MUFG went ahead and financed Van Phong 1, a polluting supercritical coal power project, although not permitted under this agreement.”

At the beginning of this year, MUFG was reported to be considering financial support to five coal-fired power projects, including Van Phong 1, totalling 5.2 GW of coal power. MUFG’s policy states that it will “take a cautious approach” to projects where “financial assessment has been ongoing since before the revision to the Framework.”

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Fri, 17 May 2019
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