March 24, 2017

Climate CEOs walk out on Westpac meeting over inaction on Adani and coal

SYDNEY, March 24 — CEOs from a number of leading environmental organisations walked out on a meeting with Westpac after only 15 minutes yesterday, after the bank refused to provide any indication it would rule out funding for the Adani coal mine or shift investment away from polluting coal, oil and gas.

CEOs and representatives from Greenpeace, Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), Market Forces, Australian Conservation Foundation and were all in the meeting and decided to leave together when bank officials refused to answer questions about Westpac’s position on the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland.

“It is quite frankly offensive for the bank to tell us they are engaging in practises compatible with avoiding dangerous warming and still refuse to rule out funding for the Adani coal mine, which would be devastating for the global climate and our reef,” CEO Blair Palese said.

“We were not going to sit in a meeting with the bank and hear about how they’re not damaging the planet while they refusing to rule out involvement with the largest coal mine in Australia’s history nor to say where they stood on phase out investment in new thermal coal.

“This is at the same time that our Great Barrier Reef is dying due to ocean warming, and severe weather events, heatwaves and bushfires are ravaging the country. The time for corporate inaction on climate change is well and truly over.

“We’ll return to the table when Westpac has something to add to the climate change conversation. And that starts with ruling out involvement with the Adani coal mine.”
This move comes a day after a historic alliance of environmental organisations was launched to stop the Adani coal project from going ahead, and after previous meetings with Westpac between the bank and environmental groups.