Westpac and coal
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The National Australia Bank is one of the largest funders of coal power stations and coal projects in Australia.
Westpac policy statements
Westpac participates in the following collective policies:
- Carbon Disclosure Project
- Equator Principles
- Global Reporting Initiative
- UNEP Finance Initiative
In addition to this, Westpac developed a number of individual sustainability policies. The bank’s Environmental Policy states that applications for finance includes an assessment of the potential environmental risk along with other risks. Where appropriate, specific measures to manage environmental risk aspects may be required as a condition of lending. Westpac also developed a Climate change position statement in which it states that the bank works to reduce its direct environmental impact and identify emerging risks and opportunities. It also contributes to policy development and drives awareness about climate change in the community. This policy however does not state anything about the indirect environmental impact of Westpac’s businesses.
Westpac funding on coal projects
According to a 2010 report for Greenpeace, Westpac invested A$ 349.6 million in coal mines, A$ 454.0 million in coal-fired power plants, A$ 220.0 million in port expansion projects and A$ 290.5 million in renewable energy over the last five years in Australia. The following tables summarize the bank’s investments in the coal sector and the renewables sector respectively. 
|Sector||Company||Amount (A$ million)||Coal amount (A$ million)|
|Mining||Queensland government (Tarong Energy)||1,734||6.9|
|Ports||Hay Point - BBI||220||220.0|
|Coal fired power stations||AGL Energy||338||25.4|
|Coal fired power stations||Alinta Energy||225||37.6|
|Coal fired power stations||CLP Group||531||51.4|
|Coal fired power stations||International Power||20.5||20.5|
|Coal fired power stations||NSW government||841.3||88.3|
|Coal fired power stations||Queensland government||1,734||55.5|
|Coal fired power stations||Griffin Group||51||51|
|Coal fired power stations||Transfield Services/TSI Fund||512||124.3|
|Total Coal Fired Power Stations||454|
|Company||Amount (A$ million)||Renewables amount (A$ million)|
|NSW government (Eraring)||841.3||2.5|
|Queensland government (Tarong Energy)||1,734||3.5|
No to HRL
In May the Victorian Environment Protection Authority announced that they had given conditional approval for one of the two proposed 300MW coal gasification units for the Dual Gas power station in Victoria. However, all four major australian banks told The Age that they would not finance the project. Westpac spokeswoman Jane Counsel tole The age that "we will continue to consider financing coal projects in the future, but our focus is very much on supporting those projects that use cleaner and more efficient technologies and are making the transition to a carbon-constrained operating environment."
Articles and resources
- "Carbon Disclosure Project", Westpac website, 2009 response.
- ”Equator Principles”, Westpac website, accessed April 2011.
- UNEP Finance Initiative, "Our Members: Westpac", UNEP Finance Initiative website, accessed April 2011.
- Westpac, "Westpac and the Environment: Our Environmental Policy", Westpac website, accessed April 2011.
- Profundo, "Australian banks financing coal and renewable energy", Greenpeace Australia, February 7, 2011.
- Greenpeace, "Pillars of Pollution: how Australia’s big four banks are propping up pollution", Greenpeace Australia, February 5, 2011.
- Royce Millar & Adam Morton, "Big banks 'no' to coal plant", The Age, May 21, 2011.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Australia and coal
- Financing coal power stations in Australia
- ANZ and coal
- Commonwealth Bank and coal
- National Australia Bank and coal