Commonwealth Bank and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

The National Australia Bank is one of the largest funders of coal power stations and coal projects in Australia.

Commonwealth Bank policy statements

The Commonwealth Bank participates in the following collective policies:

The Commonwealth Bank has also developed additional sustainability policies. Commonwealth Bank’s Environmental Policy [5] focuses on both the bank’s direct and indirect impact on the environment. However, no clear investment criteria are set. The asset management division of the bank, Colonial First State, has developed a Climate change position statement. This statement does not exclude assets operating in specific sectors but integrates environmental, social and governance considerations into its investment process. [6]

Commonwealth Bank funding on coal projects

According to a 2010 report for Greenpeace,[7] [8]over the past five years Commonwealth Bank invested A$402 million in coal mining, A$536 million in coal-fired power plants, A$ 440 million in port expansion projects and A$77 million in renewable energy in Australia. The following tables summarize the bank’s investments in the coal sector and the renewables sector respectively.

Investments of Commonwealth Bank in the Australian coal sector
Sector Company Amount (A$ million) Coal amount (A$ million)
Mining AGL Energy 115.1 15.8
Mining Anglo American 46.6 3.5
Mining BHB Billiton 639 46.0
Mining CLP Group 750.5 141.6
Mining International Power 7 7.0
Mining Macarthur Coal 18.9 18.9
Mining Noble Group 184 44.7
Mining Queensland government 1,045.1 4.2
Mining Rio Tinto 302.5 11.5
Mining Vale 103 0.8
Mining Wesfarmers 715 32.2
Mining Xstrata 489 75.8
Total mining 401.9
Ports Hay Point-BBI 340 340.0
Ports Newcastle - PWCS 100 100.0
Total ports 400.0
Coal fired power stations AGL Energy 115.1 8.6
Coal fired power stations Alinta Energy 886.2 148.0
Coal fired power stations CLP Group 750.5 123.0
Coal fired power stations International Power 5.8 5.8
Coal fired power stations NSW government 800 84.0
Coal fired power stations Queensland government 1045.1 33.4
Coal fired power stations Rio Tinto 302.5 1.5
Coal fired power stations Transfield Services/TSI Fund 448 130.5
Coal fired power stations Western Australia 41.4 0.8
Total coal fired power stations 535.8
Total coal 1,377.7

Table 6 Investments of Commonwealth Bank in the Australian renewables sector
Company Amount (A$ million) Renewables amount (A$ million)
AGL Energy 115.1 39.1
Infigen 90 28.8
NSW government 800 2.4
Pacific Hydro 16 4.6
Queensland government 1045.1 2.1
Total renewables 77.0

Articles and resources


  1. Carbon Disclosure Project, Carbon Disclosure Project website, accessed April 2011.
  2. UN Global Compact "Participant Information: Commonwealth Bank of Australia", UN Global Compact website, accessed April 2011.
  3. UNEP Finance Initiative "Our Members: Commonwealth Bank of Australia", UNEP Finance Initiative website, accessed April 2011.
  4. UNEP Principles for Responsible Investments "Commonwealth Bank", Banktrack website, accessed April 2011.
  5. Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Environment Policy, Commonwealth Bank website, October 2008.
  6. Colonial First State Climate Change Position Statement, Commonwealth Bank website, 9 January, 2008.
  7. Profundo, "Australian banks financing coal and renewable energy", Greenpeace Australia, February 7, 2011.
  8. Greenpeace, "Pillars of Pollution: how Australia’s big four banks are propping up pollution", Greenpeace Australia, February 5, 2011.

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