Standard Bank sole CEO Sim Tshabalala. (File photo: Gallo Images)
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Standard Bank – which earlier this year made headlines for withdrawing funding from coal IPP projects – says it will only invest in coal project only in “certain circumstances”, and such decisions will be taken in consultation with affected communities, Chief Executive Sim Tshabalala said on Thursday, during the presentation of the company’s interim financial results.
Tshabalala stressed that the bank’s position on the matter was influenced by its position on playing a responsible role in countries where it operates.
“Our balance sheet exists to serve the needs of our continent,” he said, adding that the bank will support gas projects and mineral exploration, and “will in certain circumstances fund coal projects”.
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“We will do so in the right way and in consultation with affected communities,” said Tshabalala.
In April, Standard Bank said it supported the adoption of higher efficiency, lower-emission coal-fired power plants to reduce the environmental and social impact of coal-fired power generation. The bank said it had set up a strict set of parameters that would guide all future financing decisions as they related to new coal powered stations.
According to Tshabalala, there has been a growing interest from shareholders and stakeholders to play a responsible role.
“Climate change is the biggest global issue of our time and the financial sector should and could play its part in mitigating the factors of climate change.”
In January this year, Nedbank announced its decision to withdraw funding of the Thabametsi and Khanyisa coal-fired power stations, saying that its decision is in line with its commitment to “green” funding, responsible lending and supporting sustainability initiative, as Fin24 reported.
Standard Bank, the continent’s largest lender by assets, is set to withdraw its investment from Argentina to focus on African operations.