BPI cements post as top coal bank in PH with new coal funding move - WFC Scorecard

Civil society and church-led campaign Withdraw from Coal (WFC) unveiled in a report published Tuesday an April 2021 update of its Coal Divestment Scorecard, a tool developed by WFC to help Philippine banks and their stakeholders assess their exposure to coal and the accompanying risks and impacts of financing it, ahead this year’s Earth Day and the Annual Stockholders Meetings of three banks found to be the biggest financiers of coal in the Philippines in the last decade. The updated report reveals that the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) retained its position from the December 2020 Scorecard as the bank with the highest exposure to coal, occupying the biggest share from the total loans and underwriting among 15 banks at 27% and 17%, respectively. “BPI, despite only being the fourth largest bank in the Philippines, solidifies its rank as the country’s top coal financier by yet again committing to underwrite a bond issuance for the country’s second largest coal developer, AboitizPower Corporation. Refusing to publicly end financing for coal, BPI commits to underwrite over P1 billion of AboitizPower’s new corporate retail bond to be used to redeem 2014 Bonds that were utilized to fund coal plants in Pagbilao, Cebu, and Davao. Overall, BPI has funded at least 15 coal plant projects and six coal developer companies,” the report said. BPI is closely followed by the Philippine National Bank (PNB) and BDO Unibank, which retain their ranks as the second and third top coal financiers in the country. PNB financed nine coal plants, while BDO, the largest bank in the country, financed at least 14 coal plants. BPI, BDO, and PNB will be holding their ASMs on April 22, 23, and 27, respectively. WFC hopes this report would help the banks and their shareholders strongly consider “adopting more urgent coal divestment policies and taking climate action efforts aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal.” According to WFC, this April 2021 scorecard is an invitation to Philippine banks for continued engagement with their stakeholders to advance sustainability and climate ambitions and an encouragement to seize opportunities to “fast-track the country’s energy transition.” “Philippine banks would do well to use the rest of 2021 to enforce tipping points that will shift the landscape out of coal’s favor completely...Policy pronouncements and disclosures from the banks on withdrawing support to coal developers and projects, if made immediately within this period, will create ripples and potentially influence the Philippines’ energy direction in strengthening its Nationally Determined Contribution [to the Paris Agreement], engaging in international climate arenas, as well as shaping the conversation on coal in the upcoming national elections,” it said. The report is accompanied by the release of a statement addressed to Philippine banks still funding the coal industry signed by over a hundred civil society and Church institutions and representatives, local government members, and organizations from coal-affected communities. [See statement below] “We urge you to stop financing destructive energy from coal. The Philippines is teeming with clean and affordable sources of renewable power that are just waiting to be tapped. By closing coal’s money pipeline and moving over to investing fully in clean power, we believe you can open the door to a sustainable future for all Filipinos, and influence all other banks to follow suit,” the statement read.


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READ THE REPORT

A statement to Philippine banks:

Withdraw from Coal Now!


Dear Philippine banks:


Choosing a bank that will help us keep our hard-earned money secure is a matter of trust and confidence. Believing that you would always have the best interest of the public you claim to serve in mind, we felt assured that our deposits and investments are safe in your hands and will be put to good use.


We are thus disappointed to learn that you are among the institutions that finance coal developers and projects, therefore bringing harm to the environment and health of Filipinos, and making our electricity bills costly because of our overreliance on coal. Coal, being the dirtiest fossil fuel, poisons both the people and the planet. It is the biggest contributor to carbon emissions that trigger rising temperatures globally, and we all know that the Philippines is on the receiving end of the deadliest climate impacts, as proven by the many calamities we've experienced in recent years. But thanks to you and other local banks, we live in a country still dominantly powered by it.


We are now more aware that by funding coal, you are placing the money of your investors at risk. Globally, hundreds of financial institutions are already restricting their coal financing or declaring that they are putting an end to it. From Europe to America, Africa to Australia and East Asia, tens and hundreds of the biggest financial institutions are already declaring coal extraction and power generation to be a thing of the past. As more communities, institutions, and even governments say no to coal, and as climate and environmental regulation on coal tightens, any coal project you still opt to invest in today can only mean trouble in the immediate future.


We urge you to stop financing destructive energy from coal. The Philippines is teeming with clean and affordable sources of renewable power that are just waiting to be tapped. By closing coal’s money pipeline and moving over to investing fully in clean power, we believe you can open the door to a sustainable future for all Filipinos, and influence all other banks to follow suit.


Signed,


WITHDRAW FROM COAL | Alaminos Diocesan Social Action Center | Antipolo Diocesan Social Action Center | Antique Diocesan Social Action Center | Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines | Atty. Ligorio Turano, Former Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member, Oriental Mindoro | Bayay Sibuyanon Inc. | Bayombong Diocesan Social Action Center | Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator, Archdiocese of Manila | Boac Diocesan Social Action Center | Bontoc-Lagawe Diocesan Social Action Center | Borongan Diocesan Social Action Center | Butuan Diocesan Social Action Center | Capiz Diocesan Social Action Center | Caritas Caceres | Caritas Catarman | Caritas Daet | Caritas Imus | Caritas Libmanan | Caritas Masbate | Caritas Novaliches | Caritas Palo | Caritas Philippines | Caritas Sorsogon | Caritas Tarlac | Caritas Virac | Caroline G. Manuel, Municipal Planning and Development Office, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro | Catherine Sanchez Escalona, Mindoro State University | Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development | Climate Action for Sustainability Initiative (KASALI) | Concerned Citizens of Sta Cruz, Zambales | Cotabato Diocesan Social Action Center | Diocese of Antique | Diocese of Boac | Diocese of Bontoc-Lagawe | Diocese of Borongan | Diocese of Butuan | Diocese of Cotabato | Diocese of Cubao | Diocese of Gumaca | Diocese of Kidapawan | Diocese of La Union | Diocese of Malaybalay | Diocese of Marbel | Diocese of San Carlos | Diocese of Tagbilaran | Diocese of Tarlac | Dipolog Diocesan Social Action Center | Duyog Marawi | Ecological Justice Inter-faith Movement (ECOJIM) | Environmental Law Society of Ateneo | Episcopal Commission on Indigenous People | Fellowship for the Care of Creation Association Inc. (FCCAI) | Fr. Gabayno Oyban, Mangyan Mission | Fr. Nestor Adalia, Apostolic Administrator, Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan | Franciscan Solidarity Movement-Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (FSMJPIC) | FSMJPIC - Young Franciscan Advocates | Global Catholic Climate Movement-Pilipinas | Gumaca Diocesan Social Action Center | Health Care Without Harm SEA | Hon. Dolor Gasic, Municipal Councilor, Victoria, Oriental Mindoro | Isabela, Basilan Diocesan Social Action Center | Jaro Social Action Center | Jolo Diocesan Social Action Center | Kalookan Diocesan Social Action Center | La Union Diocesan Social Action Center | Lingayen Diocesan Social Action Center | Lipa Diocesan Social Action Center | Living Laudato Si’ Philippines | Maasin Diocesan Social Action Center | Malaybalay Diocesan Social Action Center | Marawi Diocesan Social Action Center | Marbel Diocesan Social Action Center | Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers | Mindanao Peoples' Peace Movement (MPPM) | Mr. Jon Sarmiento for SALIKA Cooperative | Ms. Pinky Sanque Gajol for Christian Women’s Association Oriental Mindoro Conference | Msgr. Meliton B. Oso, Jaro Archdiocesan Social Action Center | Naval Diocesan Social Action Center | NGO Forum on ADB | Order of Friars Minors- Justice,Peace and Integrity of Creation (OFM-JPIC) | Philippine Misereor Partnership, Inc. (PMPI) | Priests from the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan: Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Fr. Andy Lubi, Fr Renz Hernandez, Fr. Richard Rodriguez, Fr. Jon Cusi, Fr. Celso Maliksi, Fr. Bar Fabella, SVD; Fr. Roberto Sanchez; Fr. Cris Raymundo; Fr. Joseph Boongaling; Fr. Ronald Lasquite; Rev. Alrin Logdat; Rev Ariz Olan; Fr. Dimson Saa; Fr. Rey Bandayrel; Fr. William Abas; Fr. Carlos Paglicawan; Fr. Cesar Valencia; Fr. Matthew Marasigan; Fr. Patrick Bautista; Fr. Edwin Semilla; Fr. Renato Malbog, SVD | San Carlos Diocesan Social Action Center | San Jose, Mindoro Diocesan Social Action Center | San Jose, Nueva Ecija Diocesan Social Action Center | Social Action Center - Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan | Social Action Center, Diocese of Tandag | Surigao Diocesan Social Action Center | 350.org Pilipinas | Tabuk Diocesan Social Action Center | Tagbilaran Diocesan Social Action Center | Urdaneta Diocesan Social Action Center | Zambales Lingap Kalikasan