Greenpeace Japan calls for a more meaningful and clearer coal investment policy at MUFG AGM

Greenpeace Japan calls for a more meaningful and clearer coal investment policy at MUFG AGM

Tokyo, June 28 2018 Tokyo – Greenpeace Japan will participate in the Annual General Meeting of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group today, aiming to raise discussion about the financial group’s recently published coal investment strategy. Greenpeace Japan will participate in the AGM as a shareholder, and will engage with the company over the recently published policy, which offers no clear path towards reducing investment in coal fired-power plants.[1][2][3]

“MUFG, along with other major Japanese banks, need to wake up to the reality of climate crisis and the changes within the international financial world that are already happening all over the world. Climate change is no longer an environmental issue, it is a paradigm shift. As countries and businesses around the world keep going forward to transform their economies to comply with the Paris Agreement, it is clear that fossil fuels will be replaced by sustainable energy solutions. The first one to drop out from energy mixes will be coal, and those who wait until the last moment to redirect their investments are set to lose relevancy, reputation and money”, says Hisayo Takada, Energy Project Leader of Greenpeace Japan.

MUFG, along with Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Group, have recently published revised investment policies related to sustainability and energy. Unfortunately, the policies are highly insufficient when compared to recommended emission cuts from climate scientists, failing to show clear strategy for decreasing their investments in coal. Furthermore, the policies are remarkably more vague than the coal policies set by the financial institutions in other countries. The lack of clarity makes it impossible to assess how MUFG’s coal investment practices will actually change from before.

“Numerous banks in Europe and the US have already adopted policies that rule out financing coal mining and power production, some even moving on to restrict tar sands, Arctic and extreme deepwater oil. In comparison, the policy announced by MUFG doesn’t say clearly if or how it will restrict its coal financing. It says the company “supports international initiatives that are aiming to reach the objectives set by the Paris Agreement”, but by now it should be clear to everyone that any investment in new coal means you are not actually supporting the Agreement.”

The Japanese banks’ coal policies reflect the weak energy policy currently being planned by the Japanese government. While most economically advanced countries are passing policies to phase out coal from their energy mixes, the Japanese government is proposing to keep coal’s role stable until 2030.[4] However, based on IPCC’s scenarios, it has been suggested Japan would need to bring its coal use to zero around 2030. [5]

“MUFG and other Japanese banks must stop hiding behind the government’s weak energy plan. I think they are serious about not losing their customers’ and investors’ money, and in that case continuing to invest in something that is clearly becoming a stranded asset doesn’t make sense. They need to show exactly what is their strategy and timeline of changing their financing of the power sector, beginning from coal.”

For background information:

[1] Greenpeace Japan is a minimum shareholder of MUFG stock.

[2] Greenpeace warns Investors of climate risk from Japanese banks’ financing of coal power by introducing Greenpeace Briefing: Swimming Against the Tide, Japanese Banks and Climate Change 

[3]MUFG Adopts Environmental Policy Statement, Human Rights Policy Statement, and Environmental and Social Policy Framework

[4] Greenpeace Japan Briefing Paper: Evaluation and recommendations on the Japan’s Fifth Basic Energy Plan (draft)

[5] Climate Analytics 2018