To the CEOs of Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley:
It’s time to end your bank’s financing for the coal industry. I urge you to refrain from participating in the upcoming transaction with Coal India, the world’s largest coal miner, and adopt a comprehensive policy to end lending and underwriting to coal mining and coal-fired power.
Coal India, the world’s biggest coal company, is trying to cash in with a big share offering — despite a long record of appalling human rights and environmental abuses. It's selling off a 10% stake, and it’s a huge corporation, so that sale means huge money — as much as $3.6 billion.1 And it could mean big profits for the banks doing the deal.
But this is dirty money. Any bank that takes it is also buying into Coal India’s human rights and environmental abuses. Amnesty International reported last year that a Coal India subsidiary demolished houses to forcibly evict Indigenous and Dalit families to expand one of its mines.2 And Coal India specializes in open-pit coal mining, which means clear-cutting forests — with grave impacts for forest communities and endangered species like tigers, leopards and elephants. The company touts its reforestation program — but just this summer, a government investigation found that half of the land Coal India claimed it reforested was barren.3
Indeed, broken promises are par for the course for Coal India. The company’s most recent share offering was earlier in 2015. As a precondition for Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank doing the deal, Coal India agreed to a set of environmental and social commitments that it has failed to follow through on. Now, new reports of attempts to mine tiger forests4 and displace communities5 show that the company doesn't take these commitments seriously.
Recent months have seen major banks taking the lead and committing to get out of coal mining.6 We’re months away from the crucial Paris climate summit, and banks should be doing their part by adopting policies to drop coal — not putting themselves on the wrong side of history by cashing in with the world’s biggest coal company.