(Bloomberg) — Investor activist group Market Forces called on eight major banks to reconsider providing loans to Jera Co., over concerns that Japan’s top power producer would use the money to expand its fossil fuel business.
The Australia-based advocacy group sent a letter to lenders including Deutsche Bank AG and Standard Chartered Plc urging them to engage with Jera to set a clear plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050, said Bernadette Maheandiran, Director of Asia Energy Finance at the organization.
“Many of these banks have net zero banking commitments, so we’re seeking for them to engage with Jera on its transition plan,” said Maheandiran. “Because it’s not quite a credible or clear plan from our reading of it.”
Climate activists are increasingly seeking to sway financial institutions, which often face scrutiny from customers and shareholders over their decarbonization efforts, to pressure major polluters to act more quickly. Japan’s power producers are among the nation’s biggest emitters as they burn natural gas and coal to produce electricity.
Read More: Green Groups Target Japan Megabanks on Climate Action
Jera, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co., has a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and is looking at technologies including carbon capture and storage, green ammonia fuel and renewable energy as part of its emissions reduction strategy. Its Bloomberg environmental score is below the median of its peers.
A Jera spokesperson said the company didn’t get a letter from Market Forces and isn’t in a position to comment.
The other targeted lenders were Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., DBS Group Holdings Ltd., ANZ Group Holdings Ltd., Bank of China Ltd., ING Groep NV and Natixis SA. ANZ and ING confirmed that they received the letter, but didn’t make a further statement. The other lenders targeted declined to comment.
—With assistance from Joyce Koh, Jonas Bergman, Denise Wee, Adam Haigh and April Roach.