Climate protesters demand National Australia Bank stops greenwashing

April 1, 2023
Protesters outside the bank in Gimuy. Photo: Carine Visschers

Climate activists organised a protest at National Australia Branch’s (NAB) Corporate Tower Branch at 8am on March 31 as part of Move Beyond Coal's 10 days of action against the bank.

Campaigner Renee Lees told Green Left: “We flooded our local NAB branch today because NAB’s ongoing relationship with Whitehaven Coal is deeply hypocritical and incompatible with their own climate commitments and a safe climate future.

“We all want our communities and the natural world to survive and thrive for generations to come. So, every fraction of a degree of warming matters.

“The coal we keep in the ground today will protect lives, livelihoods and nature for generations to come.

“We’re calling on Ross McEwan, NAB’s CEO, to explicitly rule out funding for companies like Whitehaven Coal that have no transition plan, no climate policy and that if financed — their plans would lead to climate catastrophe.”

The group flooded the NAB branch with stories, voices, people, feedback and songs for half an hour giving NAB’s CEO Ross McEwan a clear choice: rule out further funding for Whitehaven Coal or continue to face sustained, community pressure disrupting branch operations.

Signs read “NAB Stop funding coal” and “NAB stop the greenwashing”.

Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2016, NAB has funded the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $9.5 billion while claiming it supports the climate agreement.

NAB has been involved in lending deals worth billions of dollars to Whitehaven and, in 2020, NAB loaned it $110 million.

Whitehaven Coal is planning to invest around $4 billion on three new coal mines and expansions in the coming years — Vickery extension, Narrabri Stage 3 and Winchester South — doubling production by 2030.

Financing any new coal is out of step with the climate science and NAB’s own policies. The Move Beyond Coal movement aims to force NAB to commit to ending its financing for fossil fuel corporations, starting with Whitehaven Coal.

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