Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the world’s biggest bank.
The global influence of ICBC makes it an ideal candidate as the world’s climate leader in green finance and sustainability – leading a just global transition from coal into renewable energy sources like wind and solar for all.
Banks control the valve of China’s overseas coal financial flows, making them drivers of China’s government and industry-supported coal export. ICBC is the largest coal underwriter in the world and a large coal project financier, according to the recent rankings by BankTrack and Urgewald.
In 2019, the bank provided US $8.47 billion worth of direct funding to the top 30 coal power and mining companies. These projects destroy fragile ecosystems and fresh waterways, harm social harmony in local communities and contribute to millions of premature deaths caused by the emission of air pollutants.
Despite this, ICBC has shown its commitment to the environment in a number of ways. To set an example, they must commit to a cleaner future without coal.
ICBC should contribute to China’s climate goals and commit to zero emissions across its portfolio and operations, helping lead China to zero emission targets (in fact, China could lead the world’s clean energy transition, if they chose to). In doing so, ICBC can live up to its promises by strengthening its position in the energy transition and guide peers in the right direction.