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Singaporean banks talk about renewables, invest in coal

Staff Writer |
A new analysis from environmental finance group Market Forces shines a light for the first time on Singaporean banks’ continued funding of the coal industry, despite public pronouncements on climate action.


Market Forces analysed data relating to the lending activity of Singapore’s big three banks, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), DBS Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB), to coal companies and projects since 2012.

The analysis revealed OCBC as Singapore’s dirtiest bank, having participated in 14 deals to the coal sector worth a total of US$1,142 million. DBS Bank participated in 12 deals worth $885m, while the smallest lender was United Overseas Bank, which participated in five deals worth $262m.

Worryingly, the lending pattern is showing no sign of abating. DBS has been named as part of a syndicate in four 1200MW coal-fired power plants in Vietnam – Nam Dinh 1, Nghi Son 2, Vinh Tan 4 and Vung Ang 2 and is also a financial adviser for a number of planned coal-fired plants in Indonesia including the Jawa-6 (2000MW), Jawa-9 (600MW) and Jawa-10 (660MW) plants.

Remarkably, none of Singapore’s big three even have a climate policy in place, let alone a commitment to restrict lending to the biggest sources of greenhouse pollution.

Fourteen major commercial banks from the U.S. and Europe have adopted policies that end direct financing of coal power plants. No Asian bank has so far produced such a policy.


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