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Green group challenges incoming BPI president to move bank away from coal

Withdraw from Coal (WFC) on Wednesday expressed hope that the upcoming change of leadership at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) would also herald a climate and ecologically responsible new chapter for the bank, and asked its new president to make ending BPI’s coal financing a priority from the get-go. During the bank’s Annual Stockholders Meeting on April 22, outgoing President Cezar Consing will officially turn over his post to Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, currently the Chief Finance, Risk, and Sustainability Officer of BPI’s biggest owner Ayala Corporation. “We’re sad to see that President Consing is closing his term with BPI still crowned as the king of coal among local banks. Just last month, BPI even pursued a new underwriting commitment for the country’s second largest coal developer to help them pay for their coal plants, among other projects. But we’re still hopeful that the Bank’s claim of pursuing a clean energy road map are not empty words, and we’re challenging Mr. Limcaoco to prove that,” said Gerry Arances, convenor of WFC and Executive Director of think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development. On Tuesday, WFC led by a technical team from CEED published an April 2021 update of its Coal Divestment Scorecard, which assesses 15 Philippine banks found to have been financing coal in the last decade. BPI was deemed as the bank with the highest exposure to coal, occupying the biggest share from the total loans and underwriting among all banks at 27% and 17%, respectively. “Mr. Limcaoco is coming from Ayala Corporation, which exactly a year ago announced that it intends to fully divest from coal within this decade. As its chief sustainability officer, we imagine Mr. Limcaoco had a hand in that decision, and hope he would carry over the same care for our environment and vulnerable communities to BPI. The ASM and Mr. Limcaoco’s takeover happens on Earth Day, and we urge him to make listening to the cry of the Earth by ending BPI’s support to coal a priority from his day 1 in this new duty,” said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos. Many financial institutions globally have been making moves to reduce or phaseout their exposure to coal as pressure against the destructive impacts of coal projects intensifies, and as tightening environmental and climate policies turn the risk of coal assets stranding to reality. As the top bank funding coal in the Philippines, BPI has been urged by different sectors to lead the country’s energy transition, including from civil society, Church, and even its own employees. READ THE COAL DIVESTMENT SCORECARD REPORT APRIL 2021


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