Last week, Sandbag and the Europe Beyond Coal coalition released modelling showing air pollution from RWE’s coal burning was responsible for almost 2,000 premature deaths in 2016.
Today we reveal the major banks which are keeping RWE – Europe’s worst coal polluter – afloat.
The research is a joint project by Europe Beyond Coal, Urgewald, Banktrack, the Sunrise Project, WWF European Policy Office, and Sandbag. It looks at banks that have issued loans and underwriting services for RWE and investors that are holding stakes in RWE. It covers the period since the UN Paris Climate Agreement was signed from 2016 until the third quarter of 2018.
We find that Deutsche Bank is RWE’s most important bank and has issued €1.43 billion in loans and underwriting services, followed by Goldman Sachs with €1.39 billion. BNP Paribas issued more than €900 million and Credit Suisse close to €900 million.
On the investor side, despite its claims that “coal is dead”, the US-based asset manager BlackRock has invested almost €1.8 billion in RWE. Second is Norway’s Government Pension Fund, which in 2015 declared it would divest from coal still holds €530 million, whilst third is Vanguard (also US-based) with €510 million.
However, the divestment from RWE has already begun. Many investors now have climate policies in place that exclude RWE, including insurers and banks like Allianz, AXA, ING and ABN Amro.
Published today: A new investigation into who funds RWE – Europe's worst coal polluter.@DeutscheBank @GoldmanSachs and @blackrock top the list. https://t.co/JmTj6RTphO #EndCoal #ThursdayMotivation pic.twitter.com/Ww1OOiyNXf
— sandbag.org.uk (@sandbagorguk) November 29, 2018
Charles Moore, Analyst at Sandbag, commented:
“This report reveals the extent to which major financial institutions are still propping up RWE, Europe’s largest emitter.
Sandbag has already reported on the drop in RWE’s share price from the debacle as they tried and failed to raze Hambach forest to expand their coal mine. RWE’s financial backers should be aware that as long as the company clings to coal – incidents like this are likely to become the norm.”
Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director of Europe Beyond Coal, commented:
“By seeking to exploit its coal business to the maximum RWE is taking a risky gamble with investor money.
When the German parliament decides on a coal phase-out, RWE is forced to take losses. Taxpayers as well as RWE financiers will pay the bill. This is why the Norwegian asset manager Storebrand already considers RWE shares to be ‘toxic’.
This is a last call for creditors and investors to stop supporting such an irresponsible business.”
Cover photo by Floriane Vita