Market Forces volunteers unfurl a huge Standard Chartered – Here For Fossil Fuels’ banner in front of the bank’s London HQ on 19th April 2022. Photo credit: Pete Speller for Market Forces
  • New Market Forces analysis shows the scale of bank’s fossil fuel financing as AGM approaches 
  • In 2021 Standard Chartered funded fossil fuel expansion projects that will emit five times the entire UK’s annual carbon emissions across their project lifetimes
  • Shareholder resolution coordinated by Market Forces and Friends Provident Foundation calls on bank to set a real climate target

One week before Standard Chartered’s Annual General Meeting on 4th May, environmental finance organisation Market Forces has released new research showing that from January – December 2021, a handful of Standard Chartered-funded expansionary fossil fuel projects will emit 2.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetimes – five times the annual emissions of the entire United Kingdom.

This research shows how despite having committed to net zero by 2050, Standard Chartered continues to undermine this goal through its financing.

The projects profiled here include the controversial Mozambique LNG project, a project also blamed for exacerbating a violent insurgency carried out by an ISIS-affiliated group. As of 2021, the insurgency has caused more than 670,000 people to flee their homes. Other major projects profiled include the Jazan IGCC power plant – a massive 3.6GW gas power plant in Saudi Arabia – and financing for offshore oil and gas processing ships in Brazil.

Market Forces and the Friends Provident Foundation have filed a shareholder resolution calling for Standard Chartered to align its financing with the goal of net zero by 2050. Standard Chartered claims to support net zero by 2050, despite continuing to finance companies and projects that expand the scale of the fossil fuel industry. The International Energy Agency (IEA) stated last year that meeting the net zero goal means no new coal mines, coal plants or oil and gas fields can be brought online. It even warns that many of the LNG projects under the planning or construction stage are not needed. The shareholder resolution calls on the bank to match its net zero rhetoric with action.

Standard Chartered is the only UK bank to face an independent climate shareholder resolution at its AGM this year. 

The resolution proponents point out that although the bank has a net zero by 2050 target, its actions do not match its rhetoric, given the bank has:

  • Provided $39.6 billion in finance to fossil fuels between the signing of the Paris Agreement and the end of 2021, 
  • Recently financed companies and projects expanding the scale of the fossil fuel industry, such as Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest polluter, and a US $3.49 billion loan for the Scarborough-Pluto LNG project, which independent analysis has concluded “represents a bet against the world implementing the Paris Agreement”,
  • Earned the title of UK bank with the highest financing for new coal plant developers in Asia ($4.7 billion, October 2018-20), and
  • Failed to join 15 other major global banks and rule out funding the disastrous East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline, which would be the longest heated oil pipeline in the world

The bank’s management has filed its own shareholder proposal (Resolution 31 in the Notice), asking shareholders to endorse its current plans, which Market Forces has demonstrated falls well short of the goal of net zero by 2050. 

Larger banks than Standard Chartered are also forging ahead with bolder climate policies, such as ING Bank, which last month pledged to end all financing of new oil and gas projects.  

Adam McGibbon, UK Campaign Lead at Market Forces, said: 

Standard Chartered says it’s “Here For Good”, but our findings show it’s Here For Fossil Fuels. The bank’s current policies allow it to keep financing the expansion of the fossil fuel industry when scientists say there can be no more expansion, and the small number of projects we’ve analysed here dwarf the annual emissions of every single person in the UK.

Shareholders have a choice next week – a real net zero plan put forward by Market Forces and the Friends Provident Foundation, or a zero ambition plan put forward by the bank’s management.

Notes for editors:

  • Market Forces campaigns for financial institutions that have custody of our money to protect not damage our environment. 
  • Market Forces compiled a list of projects clearly expanding the fossil fuel industry that Standard Chartered helped finance in 2021, and carried out emissions calculations for each project. Data on project funding was sourced via IJGlobal. Data on emissions were taken from a variety of sources, including project documents, research from other organisations, and previous Market Forces analysis. Country comparison was calculated using the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s total greenhouse gas emissions for the United Kingdom in 2018 (463.5 million tonnes), prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A list of the projects is here.
  • Market Forces campaigns for financial institutions that have custody of our money to protect not damage our environment.