Faith-based environmental group urges financial institutions to ‘say goodbye to coal’

April 4, 2022

Living Laudato Si’ Philippines (LLS) on Monday urged banks to abandon coal financing, which it said financing environmental plunder and the murders of climate-vulnerable communities.

“Banks and financial institutions must say goodbye to coal and other dirty energy projects,” said Rodne Galicha, executive director of the group. 

Galicha said financing coal is “not just financing environmental plunder but it is also financing the murder of the poor communities vulnerable to the impact of the climate crisis.” 

He made the statement following the announcement of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) that it is planning to abandon coal financing by 2031.

In a statement, RCBC President and CEO Eugene Acevedo said the plan is part of the bank’s “commitment to the environment and to the world we all live in,” adding, “we are phasing out lending to coal-fired power plants by 2031.

“A call to be part of the net zero revolution has started. Businesses need to redouble efforts in order to reach net zero. Much more needs to be learned on how sustainable finance can contribute to this,” said Acevedo.

The bank also said that it is in the process of closing funding arrangements for renewable energy projects that are expected to be completed in the next two years.

Galicha urged the public to continue to engage and put pressure on Philippine banks to respond to the global ‘divest from coal’ campaign. 

“We are not just shaping the future of the next generations, we are trying to save our time on Earth. The future is now. We do not have the luxury of time because of the worsening environmental and climate conditions,” he said. 

Galicha urged church institutions, especially organizations within the Catholic Church, “to heed the cries of the poor and the Earth by acting on the call of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the care for our common home” – the Laudato Si. 

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