Hong Kong, 23 June 2015 – Greenpeace today unfurled a 30 x 5 metre banner reading ‘Choose Coral Not Coal’ outside Standard Chartered Bank’s flagship branch, in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial district. Greenpeace demands the bank immediately discontinues its involvement in the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia’s Galilee Basin, threatening the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef.

Greenpeace’s banner showed the Great Barrier Reef under threat from coal mining machinery and a clown fish being ‘strangled’ by the bank’s logo.

“Standard Chartered must live up to its own sustainability policies and should follow other global banks that are distancing themselves from this destructive mega coal mine,” said Elsa Lee, Greenpeace Senior Business Advisor.

An analysis of Standard Chartered’s public position statements shows that by offering financial services to the mining companies involved, even as an advisor, the bank is in contravention of its own policies. The bank’s infrastructure and transport policies clearly state that financial services should not be offered to clients that would impact on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[1]

Scientists have long warned that coal expansion is not compatible with a healthy reef and climate change is the greatest long-term threat to one of the world’s largest natural wonders. The mine project includes a new railway line to transport the coal to a port at Abbot Point; an export infrastructure that would require dredging the sea bed around the Great Barrier Reef, home to humpback whales, clown fish, and numerous marine lives. The project would also produce as much as 120 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, equal to almost three times Hong Kong’s annual emission.[2] 

While Standard Chartered has maintained that it is not financially involved in the Carmichael mine project, a recent court hearing revealed the bank provided a USD 680 million loan to the mining company and the loan was used in the project.[3] 

“This raises serious questions regarding the Standard Chartered’s due diligence process. If I ask my bank for 10,000 dollars, they will want to know exactly what I plan to do with that money. It is unbelievable that Standard Chartered handed over 680 million dollars without knowing exactly how that money would be used, especially to a mining company that would significantly impact climate change and the Great Barrier Reef,” Lee added.

Two weeks ago, Greenpeace launched a petition calling on Standard Chartered’s Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer Ms May Tan and the Group’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters to publicly rule out the bank’s involvement in the Carmichael coal mine project. The global petition has gained the support of over 60,000 people at the time of this press release.


Photos can be downloaded here: http://bit.ly/1H4q3wv

Media Contact

Elsa Lee, Greenpeace Senior Business Advisor
Email:[email protected]

Ray Yeung, Greenpeace Communications Officer
Email:[email protected]

Notes to Editor 

[1]  A full analysis can be seen in the BankTrack analysis (https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-eastasia-stateless/2019/11/c576b961-c576b961-standard_chartered_and_the_carmichael_coal_project_policy_analysis_banktrack_1.pdf )

Standard Chartered has 30 position statements and standards policies; they can be downloaded at https://www.sc.com/en/sustainability/performance-and-policies/standards-and-policies.html

Excerpts from Standard Chartered Infrastructure position statement:

Standard Chartered is aware that in some circumstances environmental and or social risks and impacts cannot be successfully mitigated. In the infrastructure sector we will therefore restrict the provision of financial services to Corporate and Institutional, Commercial, and Retail Business Clients who:

  • Do not significantly impact upon, or have operations located within, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and RAMSAR Wetlands For the purposes of this Position Statement, infrastructure refers to the construction, operation and decommissioning of transportation facilities (ports, harbours, terminals, airports, railways, and toll roads), water and waste management facilities, energy infrastructure, telecommunications (e.g. pipelines, fibre optic and electrical cables).”

[2] Calculated based on Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department 2011 total annual greenhouse gas emission of 42.7 million tonnes. (https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-eastasia-stateless/2019/11/2f01b40d-2f01b40d-hkghg_carbonintensity_201405.pdf)