Johannesburg, 15 April 2019 - Energy is the single biggest driver of economic growth in emerging markets, specifically, in Africa where access to affordable and reliable energy is crucial. Coal remains central to efforts to improve access to electricity and energy security in many African countries. However, the substantial increase in man-made green-house gases (GHG), driven predominately by the use of coal as an energy source, is a major contributor to climate change.
As agreed by the Conference of the Parties, in Paris (COP 21), signatory nations – including South Africa - are taking measures to combat climate change and work toward a low carbon economy and to reduce the impacts of climate change. The financial sector is expected to play a role in enabling the implementation of these measures.
Standard Bank is committed to doing the right business the right way. As such, Standard Bank supports the adoption of higher efficiency, lower-emission coal-fired power plants, and carbon capture and storage technologies (where possible) to reduce the environmental and social impact of coal-fired power generation.
Standard Bank has set up a strict set of parameters that will guide all future financing decisions as they relate to new coal powered stations. These parameters apply to Standard Bank Group and to all its operations globally. If a proposed development does not meet these parameters, Standard Bank will not provide finance. This position is broadly in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Export Credit Agency Coal-Fired Power Finance Guidelines, which assesses the financing of coal-fired power generation based on a country’s energy poverty, technology and size of plant. This model has been observed by Standard Bank since 1 July 2018.
Kenny Fihla, Chief Executive of Corporate and Investment Banking said, “As a responsible corporate citizen, the bank’s decisions and actions are informed by our values and ethics. We consider long-term impacts alongside shorter-term outcomes, and balance the interests of the Group, stakeholders and societies in which we operate to deliver positive impacts and create sustainable value on the African continent. Standard Bank is also alive to the benefits and impact that clean energy investment has. As such, 86% of all energy funding conducted by Standard Bank since 2012 has been in green energy or renewables totalling over $2 bn.”
Standard Bank Group assesses and manages environmental and social risk at multiple points during the transaction lifecycle, including; when taking on new clients, assessing pre-credit/credit applications and when developing/offering new products and services. We are mindful of the credit, investor and reputational risks associated with the financing of coal fired power stations. Standard Bank will work proactively with its clients to support the transition to a lower carbon economy, adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, foster climate resilience and lower greenhouse gas emissions development.
Standard Bank Group position on financing coal-fired power stations