MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2015
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

Tell big banks: Don’t cash in on Coal India

In the next week, 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.

Tell U.S. banks: Don’t touch Coal India’s share offering with a ten-foot pole!

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Coal India is selling off a 10% stake. 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 this year. 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.

We’ve seen this movie before. Any bank that does this deal risks getting burned again. Take action: Tell them it’s not worth it.

The deadline for banks submitting bids is September 23 — next week. The time to act is now. I’ve been talking to key U.S. banks to warn them away from this deal, but now they need to hear from you. Add your voice!

Recent months have seen major banks taking the lead and committing to get out of coal mining.6 So it’s bitterly ironic that other banks are even considering doing the Coal India deal now. 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.

Take action: tell big banks to stay away from the Coal India deal.

 


Sources:

1. "Coal India Share Sale is Planned", Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2015
http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2015/08/13/coal-india-share-sale-is-planned-energy-journal/

2. "Indigenous and Dalit communities at risk of forced evictions in Chhattisgarh", Amnesty International India, September 4, 2014 
https://www.amnesty.org.in/show/news/indigenous-and-dalit-communities-at-risk-of-forced-evictions-in-chhattisgar

3. "50% of reclaimed coal mine area of Coal India is ‘barren’", Hindustan Times, July 12, 2015 
http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/50-of-reclaimed-coal-mine-area-of-coal-india-is-barren/article1-1368263.aspx

4. "Coal winner as tiger area of 300 football fields diverted", The Times of India, September 3, 2015
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Coal-winner-as-tiger-area-of-300-football-fields-diverted/articleshow/48780482.cms

5. "Chhattisgarh coal mine should not be expanded without genuine consultation", Amnesty International India, February 19, 2015
https://www.amnesty.org.in/show/news/chhattisgarh-coal-mine-should-not-be-expanded-without-genuine-consultation

6. "Bank of America Backs Away from Funding Coal Mining," Huffington Post, May 6, 2015 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/06/bank-of-america-coal_n_7226830.html

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