MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Reacting to the announcement of the Bank of the Philippine Islands to stop lending to coal-fired power projects by 2033, Katherine Custodio, Executive Director of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, said:
“The decision from BPI to halt coal plant financing is an enlightened, active and necessary move towards the global 1.5 degree target in line with the Paris Agreement. We agree with the BPI President’s statement that renewables is what the country needs and we look forward to BPI investing more in renewables in coming years. This is welcome news for clients and would-be clients of BPI as well, as more people want to see their bank and the other companies they patronize doing the right thing for the country, people and the planet. We are highly encouraged by BPI’s decision and trust that they will continue to be more sensitive to the urgency and even adjust their enlightened response ahead of schedule.
“The financial sector is key in driving and enabling sustainability in other sectors. The effects of the climate crisis are upon us now, compounded by the continuing Covid pandemic that undeniably brought our economy to its knees. As we work our way to fiscal recovery, we need to make sure we do not compromise that which is most fundamental in economics – nature. We are headed towards a foreseeable undesired ending if we do business as usual. But moves by BPI shows we can change the ending if we invest in nature to continue sustaining human lives.
“We hope more financial institutions follow suit and pivot from the mistakes we made in the past of thinking economics and nature sit on two opposite ends of a see-saw. Renewable energy and other means of investing in nature make up the only course where we can ensure our survival and recovery.”
This is the latest in a series of positive developments in the Philippine financial sector in the leadup to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in November 2021, where public and private finance are being recognised together as key drivers towards a shift to a greener, more resilient global economy and a fair transition for society. In December 2020, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation announced that it stopped lending to coal-fired power projects, following an earlier coal moratorium issued by the Department of Energy.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas also issued Circular No. 1085 in April 2020, a sustainable finance policy framework on the integration of sustainability principles in the financial sector.
WWF, through its program on sustainable finance, is engaging the financial sector to improve integration of environmental risks, deliver greater investment for sustainable development, and drive sustainable practices through the economy. This latest move away from financing fossil fuel expansion and directing support for renewables reinforces the energy transition needed to change the ending for the environment, our people and our planet.