The ANZ and National Australia Bank are the biggest Australian lenders to coal. Heading up the list for Australian investors in coal is Macquarie Group and Magellan Financial Group.
The United States holds the most institutional investments in coal according to new NGO research into the world’s largest financiers and investors on the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL). Japan’s banks were the biggest lenders, while Chinese banks were the biggest underwriters.
As of January 2021, 4488 companies around the world hold investments totaling $US1.03 trillion.
The US holds a majority 58 per cent of coal industry investments, worth $US602 billion. US mutual fund company Vanguard is the world’s largest institutional investor, holding $US86 billion in coal industry investments, followed closely by BlackRock’s $84 billion.
The US has shown little intent on pulling away from coal, especially given the last four years under the Trump administration’s coal-friendly agenda.
However, there is some hope for change under President Joe Biden, who recently signed an executive order to pull back on international financing of fossil fuels.
Macquarie Group is Australia’s primary coal investor with nearly $US5.3 billion in total, ranking 43 out of the 934 companies on the GCEL list. Magellan Financial Group, another Australian founded company, was also listed in the top 100 nations for $US4 billion.
|3||Capital Group||United States||2021||36,330||38,351|
|4||State Street||United States||1,366||31,138||32,505|
|5||Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)||Japan||3003||26,080||29,083|
|6||T. Rowe Price||United States||1099||14,337||15,436|
|7||Fidelity Investments||United States||3679||11,179||14,857|
|8||Government Pension Fund Global||Norway||2308||12,264||14,572|
|9||JPMorgan Chase||United States||2351||11,881||14,232|
It isn’t just about investors, but also the banks enabling questionable lending practices. Researchers identified $US315 billion in loans from 381 commercial banks around the world.
Japan’s banks were the biggest lenders, providing an estimated $US76 billion in loans over the past two years.
“The coal policies adopted by Japanese banks are among the weakest in the world.” 350.org Japan campaign associate Eri Watanabe said. “They only cover a small portion of banks’ lending and do not rule out corporate loans or underwriting for companies that are still building new coal plants in Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and elsewhere.”
Australia’s big lenders – ANZ and NAB
In Australia, the biggest lender is ANZ in the number 42 spot, issuing an estimated $US1.9 million in loans. Close behind is National Australia Bank with $US1.2 million.
|Bank||Country||Loan (in $US million)|
|3||Mitsubishi UFJ Financial||Japan||17,929|
|6||Bank of China||China||8767|
|7||Bank of America||United States||8471|
|8||JPMorgan Chase||United States||7761|
|10||Wells Fargo||United States||6266|
Sneaking in with some slick indirect financing, the top 10 underwriters for coal were Chinese banks, who may have only accounted for 6 per cent of all lending, but provided 58 per cent of all underwriting, a total of $US567 billion.
While lending has been on the decline the last couple of years, underwriting has steadily risen from $US491 billion in 2016 to $US543 billion by 2019 — an 11 per cent growth.
|Bank||Country||Underwriting (in $US mln)|
|1||Industrial and Commercial Bank of China||China||36,993|
|2||China International Trust and Investment Corp.||China||31,648|
|3||Shanghai Pudong Development Bank||China||27,778|
|4||Bank of China||China||24,263|
|5||China Everbright Group||China||23,764|
|6||Ping An Insurance Group||China||23,392|
|7||Agricultural Bank of China||China||22,787|
|8||China Construction Bank||China||22,488|
|9||Industrial Bank Company||China||20,931|
|10||China Merchants Group||China||20,780|
The numbers reveal a “sobering reality check” for banks’ climate commitments according to Reclaim Finance policy analyst Yann Louvel. While 88 commercial banks adopted some form of coal policy, Reclaim Finance’s “Coal Policy Tool” estimated that only four employed “robust” coal exclusion policies.
“What we need are comprehensive, immediate coal exit policies,” Louvel said. “Now is the time for the finance industry to act. A speedy exit from coal finance and investment is not only do-able and desirable, it is a question of survival.”