About 260 organizations fighting climate change have signed on a petition calling on the GCF board to reject the application for accreditation of the Japanese megabank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

Calling on the GCF

PRESS RELEASE
August 19, 2020

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board Meeting opened yesterday, facing calls by organizations for the GCF to deny the application of Japanese megabank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) to become an accredited entity.

The GCF is the largest dedicated fund to finance climate actions in developing countries. Accredited entities access the funds from the GCF by submitting projects for approval, and receive and manage the funds for approved projects. The GCF is holding its 26thmeeting from August 18 to 21 during which it will consider three accredited entity applications including SMBC’s.

An Open Letter to the GCF Board, which as of August 19 has been signed by 263 national and international networks from 69 countries, expressed strong opposition to the accreditation application of SMBC given that it is the world's third largest lender to coal plant projects with a long history of financing coal projects in developing countries.

“We struggle daily with the impacts of coal-fired power plants in our communities and we say SMBC does not meet the GCF standards of environmental and social governance. Approval of its accreditation application puts the reputation of the GCF on the line and makes a mockery of the mandated objectives of the Fund. There is no justification for GCF to consider giving a dirty company access to public funds that are needed, now more than ever, for urgent climate action,” the open letter said.

“If SMBC becomes an accredited entity, it will be able to submit proposals to, and access funds from, the GCF, which is the main financial mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. That is unacceptable. SMBC cannot be a legitimate partner for climate action if it continues to finance the expansion of coal power in developing countries already choked by coal, like Vietnam, Indonesia, and Bangladesh,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

"If it truly wants to undertake meaningful climate actions, it should start with a total exit from coal projects," added Nacpil.

SMBC is currently considering its support for the controversial Vung Ang 2 project in Vietnam. It has financed Cirebon 2, Tanjung Jati B units 5 & 6, and Batang in Indonesia and Van Phong 1 and Nghi Son 2 in Vietnam. SMBC is also involved as financial advisor in two projects on Matarbari Island in Bangladesh.

Research finds that between 2017 and 2019, SMBC has provided USD $8 billion in loans to coal plant developers. A December 2019 report by Urgewald, Banktrack and 30 partner NGOs on global financiers of the coal industry found that Japan’s biggest commercial banks -- Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group are ranked first, second and third biggest lenders to the top coal plant developer companies, respectively. Together, these mega banks provided USD 39.3 billion in loans to coal plant developers between 2017-2019.

“How can a dirty company be accredited as a partner in responding to the challenge of climate change in developing countries? SMBC supports coal build up in Bangladesh – a climate-vulnerable country and has one of the largest coal power pipelines in the world. If SMBC wants to support climate action, it should help Bangladesh transition to clean energy,” said Hasan Mehedi, Executive Director of Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network-Bangladesh.

According to Dwi Sawung, campaign manager of Walhi, SMBC’s accreditation application “is of great concern” on account of a long-standing national campaign to oppose the Cirebon 2 coal plant project which SMBC is financing.

“Residents of Cirebon, with huge international support, have long been campaigning against the construction of CIREBON 2 Coal Plant and calling SMBC and other financiers to stop their involvement in the project. The project is mired in environmental, climate and human rights issues, as well as allegations of irregularity and corruption,” said Sawung.

Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission has been investigating the Cirebon 2 developer on allegations of bribery payments to the local politician to protect the project from protesting residents and to calm local land disputes. This bribery case has given warning to the international financiers of the project, including SMBC, according to Sawung.

Hozue Hatae, Development Finance and Environment team leader of Friends of the Earth Japan, said SMBC remains noncommittal about moving away from coal.

“Its coal-fired power sector policy is full of loopholes, allowing it to continue as one of the worst drivers of climate change. SMBC should not have access to public subsidies for climate mitigation and adaptation,” said Hatae.

“The GCF has a crucial role in achieving the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees. This goal requires that developed countries completely abolish coal-fired power plants by 2030 and the rest of the world by 2040. There is no room for building new coal-fired power plants. SMBC policy is not aligned with this direction,” she added.

LIST OF SIGNATORIES TO THE PETITION AS OF AUG. 19, 2020

REGIONAL/GLOBAL

  • Action Aid International
  • Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)
  • Catholic Agency of Overseas Development (CAFOD)
  • China-Latin America Sustainable Investments Initiative
  • Fight Inequality Alliance Asia
  • Friends of the Earth Asia-Pacific
  • Focus on the Global South
  • Fridays For Future
  • Global Alliance for Tax Justice
  • Greenpeace International
  • Greenpeace Nordic
  • Greenpeace –Southeast Asia
  • Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)
  • International Accountability Project
  • Migrant Forum in Asia
  • NGO Forum on ADB
  • Oil Change International
  • Oil Change Africa
  • Oxfam International
  • Pacific Climate Warriors
  • People of Asia for Climate Solutions (PACS)
  • Power Shift Africa
  • Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition
  • Society for International Development (SID)
  • South Asian People's Action on Climate Crisis (SAPACC)
  • WWF International
  • 11.11.11
  • 350 Africa
  • 350 Asia 350 Pacific

ANGOLA

  • S.O.S. – Crianca E Desenvolvimento Integral De Ang

ARGENTINA

  • Alvento

AUSTRALIA

  • AID/WATCH
  • Climate Justice Programme
  • Cooper Park Society
  • Market Forces
  • Restore, Sustain, Thrive: Permaculture & Reforestation
  • University of Melbourne
  • Youth 4 Climate Action Australia

BANGLADESH

  • Bangladesh Adivasi Samity
  • Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF)
  • Bangladesh Bakolight Sramik Union
  • Bangladesh Bhumiheen Samity  Bangladesh Floating Labor Union
  • Bangladesh Floating Women Labor Union
  • Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Network on Climate Change
  • Bangladesh Jatiyo Sramik Federation
  • Bangladesh Jubo Sabha
  • Bangladesh Kishani Sabha
  • Bangladesh Krishok Federation
  • Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA)
  • Bangladesh Readymade Garment Sramik Federation
  • Bangladesh Rural Intellectuals' Front
  • Bangladesh Sramik Federation
  • Center for Environment, Human Rights & Development Forum (CEHRDF)
  • CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network)
  • Ganachhaya Sanskritic Kendra
  • Innoel Renewable Energy
  • Maleya Foundation
  • Online Knowledge Society
  • Waterkeepers Bangladesh
  • Women Resource Network (WRN)

BENIN

  • Amis de l'Afrique Francophone- Bénin (AMAF-BENIN)

BRAZIL

  • 350.org Brazil
  • Fridays for Future Brasil

CAMEROON

  • Lelewal Foundation

CANADA

  • Caisse d'économie solidaire Desjardins
  • Climate Action Network Canada
  • Climate Strike Canada
  • Columbia University
  • Fridays for Future Toronto
  • Toronto 350

CHILE

  • Fundación Chile Sustentable
  • Universidad Catolica de Chile

COLOMBIA

  • Fridays for Future Bogota
  • Fundación Agroimpulso
  • Universidad Pontificia Javeriana Cali

Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Actions Communautaires pour le Développement Intégral (ACDI/ONGD)

EGYPT

  • Friday’s for Future
  • Gatef
  • Green Society
  • Tadweer Egypt

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

  • St. Barnabas Youth

FIJI

  • Alliance for Future Generations
  • Bua Urban Youth
  • Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality

FRANCE

  • Fridays for Future France
  • Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF)
  • Reclaim Finance
  • Youth for Climate France

FINLAND

  • Finnish Asiatic Society

GERMANY

  • Fridays for Future Hanover
  • Klimastreik
  • TSV Klub Infraschall
  • Urgewald

GHANA

  • Greener Impact International

GREECE

  • UndebtedWorld Collective

HONGKONG

  • Brawn Capital Ltd.

INDIA

  • AJC Bose College, Kolkata
  • All-India Women Hawkers Federation (AIWHF)
  • Association For Promotion of Sustainable Development
  • Environics Trust
  • Extinction Rebellion Youth
  • Friday’s for Future India
  • Fridays For Future Mumbai
  • Ganv Bhavancho Ekvott
  • Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS)
  • Growthwatch
  • IIPC -India
  • Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
  • mines, minerals and People (mmP)
  • M.N.N.I.T Allahabad (UP)
  • Nadi Ghati Morcha
  • National Fishworkers Forum
  • National Hawkers Federation (NHF)
  • North East Dialogue Forum (NEDF)
  • Rajib Enterprise
  • Sustain Mantra

INDONESIA

  • 350.org Indonesia
  • Aksi for gender, social and ecological justice
  • Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat (AEER)
  • Koalisi Responsibank Indonesia
  • KruHA (People’s Coaltion for Water Rights)
  • Satria Baru
  • Trend Asia
  • WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
  • WALHI West Java

IRELAND

  • Extinction Rebellion Youth Dublin
  • Friday’s for Future Mayo

ISRAEL

  • Hebrew University

ITALY

  • JPIC Secretariat, Rome
  • Tripla Difesa Onlus

JAPAN

  • 350.org Japan
  • 350 Tokyo
  • ATTAC Japan Metropolitan Area
  • Climate Action UT
  • Climate Reality Project – Japan
  • Foss Mountain Film
  • Fridays For Future Dazaifu
  • Fridays for Future Hiroshima
  • Friends of the Earth Japan
  • Fridays For Future Shizuoka
  • Greenpeace – Japan
  • Hunters Gate Lodge
  • International Resources and Energies Student Association
  • Kiko Network
  • Kyushu University
  • Mekong Watch
  • Pathway

JORDAN

  • The Jordanian Climate Change  and Environment Protection Society

KIRIBATI

  • 350 Kiribati
  • Kiribati Climate Action Network

LEBANON

  • Friday’s for Future, Lebanon

MALAYSIA

  • Sahabat Alam Malaysia / Friends of the Earth Malaysia

MAURITANIA

  • Ong Globe

MEXICO

  • 350.org Mexico
  • Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia

MONGOLIA

  • Climate Campaign
  • Consumer Foundation
  • Development Interlink
  • Ecology  Support Development Foundation
  • Mongolian Women's Employment Supporting Federation
  • Mongolian Women's Fund
  • Oyu Tolgoi Watch
  • ТӨГС ЗОХИЦОЛ ГЭР БҮЛ ТББ (Perfect Compatibility Family NGO)
  • Rivers without Boundaries, Mongolia
  • Steps Without Borders NGO
  • Women Leader Foundation
  • National Center for Public Health
  • Psychological Responsiveness NGO

MOROCCO

  • Al Akhawayn University
  • L’AssociationFemmes Pour L’ Egalite’ Et Democratie/Maroc

NEPAL

  • Center for Indigenous Peoples' Research and Development (CIPRED)
  • Digo Bikas Institute
  • Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative (HAMI)
  • Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Centre (KIRDARC Nepal)
  • National Campaign for  Sustainable  Development Nepal
  • Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN)
  • Rupantaran Nepal
  • Tax and Fiscal Justice Alliance – Nepal

NETHERLANDS

  • Both ENDS
  • Commission for Filipino Migrant Workers (CFMW)
  • Friday’s for Future, Netherlands
  • Transnational Institute (TNI)

NICARAGUA

  • Centro para la Autonomía y Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas  (CADPI)

NIGER

  • Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l'Environnement (ANSEN)

PAKISTAN

  • Crofter Foundation
  • Khidmatgaar
  • Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF)
  • Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC)
  • Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE)
  • Sukaar Welfare Organization

PANAMA

  • Asociacion Kunas Unidos por Napguana (KUNA)

PERU

  • CHIRAPAQ Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú

PHILIPPINES

  • 350.org Pilipinas
  • Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)
  • Climate Reality Project Philippines
  • Ecological Society of the Philippines
  • Extinction Rebellion Philippines
  • Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
  • Greenpeace Philippines
  • Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC)
  • Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment
  • Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center - Friends of the Earth Philippines
  • Living Laudato Si' Philippines
  • Medical Mission Sisters
  • Negrosanon Young Leaders Institute, Inc
  • Oriang Women's Movement
  • Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
  • SANLAKAS
  • Tebtebba Foundation
  • WomanHealth Philippines
  • Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP)
  • Youth Strike for Climate Philippines

ROMANIA

  • Fridays for Future Romania

RUSSIA

  • Friends of the Siberian Forests

SINGAPORE

  • 350 Singapore

SOUTH AFRICA

  • Batlhabine Foundation
  • Fund OurFuture
  • groundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa

SOUTH KOREA

  • Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM)
  • Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC)
  • Transparency International Korea
  • Youth 4 Climate Action Korea

SPAIN

  • Fridays for Future

SRI LANKA

  • Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ)

SWITZERLAND

  • Climate Strike Switzerland
  • Friday’s for Future, Switzerland
  • Parents for the Climate

TAIWAN

  • Mom Loves Taiwan Association

TANZANIA

  • PINGO's Forum

THAILAND

  • Climate Watch Thailand
  • Green South Foundation

UGANDA

  • Centre for Citizens Conserving (CECIC)

UNITED KINGDOM

  • Bretton Woods Project
  • Extinction Rebellion Youth
  • Fresh Eyes
  • Fridays for Future
  • Fridays for Future Digital
  • Global Witness
  • School Strike for Climate
  • Scottish Youth Climate Strike

USA

  • Bank Information Center
  • Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • EcoEquity
  • Friday’s for Future Digital
  • Friday’s for Future, Polluters Out!
  • Friends of the Earth US
  • Green Climate
  • GreenFaith
  • Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC
  • Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Maryknoll Sisters Eastern US Region
  • Mighty Earth
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Sisters of Charity Federation
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
  • Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)

VANUATU

  • Anglican Church of Melanesia
  • Vanmel Community Association(CBOs)
  • Vanuatu Climate Action Network

VIETNAM

  • Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID)
  • WARECOD

ZIMBABWE

  • Humana People to People