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Mizuho bows to pressure over its coal financing

The world’s third biggest lender to coal power and mining, Mizuho Financial Group, has confirmed it will stop financing new projects and end all loans for coal by 2050.

According to a statement on its website in Japanese, the bank will cut loans by 50% by 2030 and reduce them to zero by 2050.

At the end of 2019, the loan amount stood at roughly JPY300bn (€2.6bn).

Climate action

Mizuho was targeted by Japanese activist group Kiko Network in March over its coal financing.

The Kiko-led shareholder resolution demanded that Mizuho disclose how its business strategy and investments were aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

According to newswire Reuters, it was the first time that a publicly traded Japanese company had been sent a shareholder climate change resolution.

Not very impressed

Despite their apparent victory, the network’s international director Kimiko Hirata believes the bank needs to move more quickly.

“I hope they will stick to a basic policy and stop all coal financing,” she told Reuters.

“Coal power needs to be phased out before the 2040s, globally. That means reaching zero by 2050 is too late.”

But pressure is working

While Mizuho may not have done as much as was hoped, the pressure from activists and shareholders appears to be bearing some fruit.

Just one day after Mizuho announced its plans, rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group confirmed it will no longer lend to new coal-fired power plants from 1 May this year.

Kirsten Hastings

Kirsten is international editor of Expert Investor and International Adviser. She joined Last Word Media in October 2015. Kirsten has a Masters in Financial Journalism from the...

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