Two South African banks are the biggest “climate killers” among African banks, environmental activists said on Wednesday.
Standard Bank was the biggest culprit, while Nedbank, which claimed to be a carbon- neutral bank, was ranked number 60, activists said on the sidelines of the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban.
The banks were mentioned during the release of a report showing that banks around the world had lent about R2.5 trillion to the coal industry, which is regarded as the major source of greenhouse gases.
In response, Nedbank said it was a proud conservation partner of environmental group WWF-SA. “Together we aspire to reduce the consumption of our natural resources. Nedbank is also the first African bank to adopt the Equator Principles,” it said.
The Equator Principles are a voluntary set of standards for determining, assessing and managing social and environmental risk in project financing.
Comment from Standard Bank could not be immediately obtained.
Bobby Peek, of Groundwork, said Standard Bank had financed projects worth about R1 billion “that destroyed the environment”.
Nedbank had financed Eskom’s environmentally unfriendly coal projects to the tune of about R941m.
Nedbank has put banners around its building which read “a greener future needs a greener bank with green answers”. The building is next to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre where the COP17 talks are taking place. –