Withdraw from Coal: Green energy coalition kicks off bank grading project

Members of the Withdraw from Coal (WFC) Campaign on Friday engaged with top officials of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to mark the start of its engagement with banks for its Coal Divestment Criteria and Scorecard.

The scorecard is meant to facilitate the process of checking how “green” a bank’s investments are by policymakers, investors, and depositors, particularly their involvement with coal, the most damaging of all fossil fuels.

“The Coal Divestment Criteria and Scorecard is meant to provide an honest review system for banks and stakeholders in the fight for coal divestment. While we get most of our data from public sources, we understand that there are some things that only the management of banks can provide. This is why we welcome the opportunity to meet with the top leadership of BPI for an open discussion of their policies and plans about coal,” said WFC Convenor Gerry Arances.

The meeting, which was held on Zoom, saw Arances represent WFC, while BPI President and CEO Cezar “Bong” Consing led by the delegation from the bank.

“Withdraw from Coal will grade 15 banks on their exposure to coal – how much they lent to coal developers and coal projects like mines and power plants, if they invested through stocks or bonds in coal projects, if they are making steps to address the climate emergency, and if they have plans for divesting from coal in the near future,” said Arances.

Coal has been under fire in recent years for its role in accelerating the climate emergency, causing top financial institutions all over the world to announce their divestment plans.

“Moody’s gave coal a negative outlook. The investment firm BlackRock, the bank BNP Paribas, our own local conglomerates Ayala Corporation and the Lopez Group – these are leaders in their fields who now see the light and are exiting from coal. We hope more of them will follow in the future, and the scorecard we are coming up with will be one tool for their use,” said Arances.