NAB accused of greenwashing

National Australia Bank has been accused in no uncertain terms of greenwashing.

Activist group Market Forces said NAB's new climate policy, released as part of its latest Sustainability Report, is "little more than greenwash and a recipe for climate catastrophe."

In the report, NAB said it will exit thermal coal by 2035 - Market Forces insists this is "too little too late."

It cites the fact that signatories to the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change agreed to exit thermal coal five years earlier than NAB, by 2030.

Commonwealth Bank updated its environmental policy earlier this year to match that 2030 timeline.

Suncorp has committed to exiting thermal coal by 2025.

"Whilst the Morrison Government will inevitably fulminate over the thermal coal exit, we need to recognise that NAB's position on climate change is consistent with the failure of the Paris Agreement, and an invitation to runaway global warming" said Market Forces Executive Director Julien Vincent.

"By signalling to coal power plant operators that they can rely on NAB's support beyond 2030, and having no plan in place to manage down exposure to other fossil fuels such as oil and gas, this is far from a responsible approach to minimise climate risk."

Market Forces has also identified $1.83 billion in loans from NAB to the fossil fuel sector in the year to June 2019.

The group has lodged a shareholder resolution with NAB calling for better disclosures of targets and for the bank to reduce loan book exposure to the fossil fuel sector.

"NAB has given us no reason to alter this resolution, as they have failed to move on oil and gas and they now have a coal policy that is misaligned with the Paris climate goals. So we will continue to take the resolution to the annual general meeting," Vincent said.

In NAB's Sustainability Report chief executive Philip Chronican said: "We have sought to lead in areas where we can have the largest impact on climate change. Over the past year, we have been the 13th largest lender to the renewable energy industry in the world and we are proud to be Australia's number one bank for global renewables transactions."

He cited figures that since 2015 the bank has provided $33.6 billion in environmental financing to help address climate change and support the transition to a low carbon economy.

In the report, NAB measures its ESG initiatives against the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The report is wide-ranging, and does not only focus on NAB's environmental sustainability measures but on social and governance issues including its whistleblower policy and customer remediation program.

Read more: NABClimate ChangeNational Australia BankSustainability ReportMarket Forces Executive Director Julien VincentParis AgreementCommonwealth BankESGGlobal Investor StatementMorrison GovernmentPhilip ChronicanSuncorpUN Sustainable Development Goals
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