Australian bank ANZ will exit all lending to companies with exposure to thermal coal either through extraction or power plants by 2030, as part of its new lending criteria to support the 2015 Paris climate agreement target of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
ANZ, which is one of four banks that dominate the banking sector in Australia, will no longer finance any firms that have more than 10pc of their total revenue from thermal coal activities, the bank said.
The Melbourne-based bank will only lend to renewable projects and low-carbon gas projects by 2030 and will discuss with its customers that have more than 50pc of their revenue from thermal coal about diversification strategies by 2025. “We will cap limits to customers that do not meet this expectation and reduce our exposure over time,” ANZ said.
The tightening of the lending criteria to the thermal coal industry follows ANZ’s previous stance unveiled last year of lending only to new customers that have less than 50pc of their revenue from thermal coal and not financing the construction of any new conventional coal-fired power plants. It also marks a shift from when the bank first unveiled its thermal coal lending policy in 2015, when it said it would consider financing new coal-fired power stations only if advanced technology and higher-quality thermal coal were used.
ANZ was the last of Australia’s four largest banks to commit to exiting lending to thermal coal activities, with fellow Australian bank Westpac pledging to neither lend money nor invest in the thermal coal mining industry from 2030.
Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of thermal coal. The sector faces more headwinds now that Australia’s four largest banks will no longer lend for new thermal coal mine developments or expansions of existing mines. Australia’s three largest coal customers have also all committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 for Japan and South Korea and 2060 for China. These three countries took around three-quarters of Australia’s thermal coal exports in calendar 2019.