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NAB’s Climate Report is full of greenwash

Since launching the Move Beyond Coal movement and the NAB #NotAnotherDollar for Whitehaven Coal campaign in September, almost 1,000 people have emailed NAB executives directly asking them to rule out funding for Whitehaven Coal! We’ve sent these emails to NAB executives- Ross McEwan(CEO), Phil Chronican (Chairman), David Gall (Corporate Banking) and Shaun Doolley (Risk) because they have the power to end NAB’s toxic relationship with Whitehaven Coal.

These 1,000 emails have not been responded to by Phil, Ross, David or Shaun, but by Jordan Grace - who heads up NAB’s ‘sustainability’ team. We’d like to thank Jordan for his response, however, we’re still looking forward to hearing from Ross. Sadly, the response we’ve received from NAB’s sustainability team so far essentially redirected us to find detailed information on their approach in their 2022 Climate Report.

So, we thought we’d take a look at NAB’s 2022 Climate Report for clues about how they think they’ve answered our questions and concerns that many of the 1,000 of us included in our emails. 

1. We asked NAB to immediately and publicly end all forms of finance for companies and projects expanding* the coal industry….

NAB’s 2022 Climate Report didn’t include any policy updates that would rule out refinancing a company like Whitehaven Coal. Importantly, their policies exclude project finance for new thermal coal projects, but still doesn’t rule out the companies building them. So, NAB can say (and do) that they’re not financing new thermal coal projects BUT still give money to Whitehaven Coal who *spoiler alert* only mine coal! NAB had a chance to update this policy in their climate report and didn't. 

NAB scores: 0 points

2. We asked NAB to commit to ending all forms of finance for all coal, oil and gas by 2030. 

In regards to NAB's target of 0 thermal coal exposure by 2030, the 2022 Climate Report said "Achieving this target will require a combination of existing thermal coal sector customers diversifying their operations, and reducing exposure to customers that are not transitioning their operations in line with NAB’s sector target." [1] So, in layman's terms they understand they either have to drop customers that aren’t diversifying (Whitehaven Coal is Australia’s largest pure-play coal company) OR work with existing customers, like Whitehaven Coal to diversify their company. Whitehaven Coal has no plans to diversify or transition, and therefore we agree with NAB and think they need to ‘reduce their exposure’ to Whitehaven Coal!

NAB scores: 0 points

3. We pointed out that Whitehaven Coal has no transition plan and asked NAB to immediately end the relationship, as Whitehaven plans to double coal production by 2030!

NAB’s 2022 Climate Report says, “Across its lending portfolio, the Group (i.e. NAB) will support the transition to net-zero by 2050 by: Considering selectively reducing exposure to high emitting clients that have been unable to demonstrate how they are aligned with the Group's sector targets."[2]

Whitehaven Coal is the biggest undiversified coal mining company on the Australian share market. Whitehaven has no substantive climate policy, no known intention to phase out coal and is in fact actively expanding its coal operations.  Any bank financing Whitehaven Coal is supporting Whitehaven’s expansion of the coal industry, at a time when we should be phasing out coal. It's time for some definitive action from NAB to rule out financing clients who have plans incompatible with NAB's targets. Once again, NAB had a chance to change this with the release of their 2022 Climate Report, but failed to do so.

NAB scores: 0 points.

Whilst we appreciate the email response from NAB’s sustainability team, we’d much prefer NAB to live up to their own climate promises and rule out all funding for Whitehaven Coal. Until then, our people-powered movement will be on the streets, in branches, at AGMs and HQs and sending more emails until NAB’s actions reflect their words.

Tell NAB Executives to stop financing coal!

[1] Pg. 28 NAB’s 2022 Climate Report
[2] Pg. 21 NAB’s 2022 Climate Report

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