Westpac decried for climate change inaction

westpac Australian Ethical climate change big four bank

15 December 2022
| By Laura Dew |
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Westpac has come under fire from shareholders over greenwashing with Market Forces describing the firm as a ‘laughing stock’.

At the firm’s annual general meeting in Melbourne on 14 December, comments were raised regarding its approach to climate change.

Resolutions had been lodged by Market Forces, asset manager Australian Ethical and almost 200 shareholders calling for the bank to stop financing coal, oil and gas expansion.

This included work the bank was doing with Whitehaven Coal, Woodside and Santos.

The resolutions come after revelations Australia’s big four banks, ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac, recently co-financed a $1.5 billion dollar deal related to major Australian oil and gas expander, Santos, and its Barossa gas project. ANZ and Westpac lent $1.2 billion to Woodside, which was developing a large Scarborough gas project.

Will van de Pol, asset management campaigner at Market Forces, said: “Westpac’s claim to support the climate goals of Paris Agreement and net zero emissions by 2050 while continuing to finance huge fossil fuel expansion plans of companies like Whitehaven Coal, Santos and Woodside is becoming a sick joke.

“Big investors, including Australian super funds, must demand Westpac close the loopholes in its climate policy and bring the bank into line with investors’ own climate commitments.”


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