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.

Latest news

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China should finance a green and low-carbon future, not the East African Crude Oil Pipeline

Members of the #StopEACOP campaign represented by 61  civil society organisations (CSOs) from Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo and Kenya, wrote to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) expressing their concerns about its role as a financial advisor and its potential participation in a $2.5 billion project finance loan for the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The future of coal plants in Pakistan

What if ICBC and other Chinese banks consider walking away from Pakistan’s coal plants?

The legal battle of Sepang Bay residents against coal-fired power plant

No one is immune to losing faith, especially when you know you are on the right side of the law and you’re up against one of the world’s biggest fossil-fuel financiers. 

Pakistan’s Thar coal project and its community’s disempowerment

In the last 12 months, the world of coal financing has shifted dramatically. Even ICBC themselves have indicated that they are moving away from the high-emissions fuel. However, for the residents of Thar, vague hopeful statements of the future will not change the real, tangible heartbreak they are going through at the moment.

Alternative Investments 

“It’s not that we don’t want development. We do. But what we want is sustainable development."

Loss of cultural heritage feared in the aftermath of halted coal plant construction

Even after the Lamu coal power plant has been abandoned, residents fear that cultural damage might already have been done

Ordinary citizens pay hefty price for unsustainable investments

For a visitor, it can be difficult to ignore an unsettling smell that emanates from the fumes produced by coal power stations, built into the heart of Hwange, a town in Zimbabwe’s Matebeleland North province.

Lamu residents worry about their health, as the fate of the ICBC-backed coal plant remains uncertain

The collapse of the coal plant in Lamu last year led to a major sigh of relief for the thousands of locals who had put up a spirited fight over the last four years to stop the ICBC-backed coal plant. 

Cambodia’s shift to coal is harming the country and pushing away foreign investors

Up until 2018, Cambodia had been generating most of its electricity from hydroelectric dams. However, the fast-tracked approval of two new coal power plants last year signals a dramatic shift in its energy policy. A wave of investments from international investors, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), has made this possible.

Heavy Metals and Heat

How a coal plant almost killed a fishing industry in Kenya