An appeal to mBank: funding coal affects climate and health
Environmentalists of Ecological Association EKO-UNIA took part in the General Assembly of Stockholders of mBank to call on the bank to improve its climate policies and to stop funding companies which plan new coal-based projects.
– We hope that mBank which supports the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity and many environment-friendly projects, will proclaim a climate policy, too, finally declaring withdrawal from funding coal companies and investments – said Joanna Kubicka of the Ecological Association Eko-Unia.
Currently, the biggest planned power plant is Ostrołęka C (1,000 MW) and its main investors are Energa and Enea. Specialists indicate its negative impact on public health, environment and economy.
– In the state with the highest level of air polution in the European Union, the society will be exposed to even more contamination. Unfortunatelly, some banks and financial institutions still co-fund or service funding of such investments and mBank is one of them – explains Radosław Gawlik, President of the Ecological Association EKO-UNIA and anti-smog activist.
According to independent experts, during its expected 40-year operation, Ostrołęka C may contribute to 2,000 premature deaths. The investment will also have negative impact on nature – its zone of influence will cover two Nature 2000 areas and indirect impact will reach Puszcza Biała.
Construction of such a power plant will be very expensive. Is is estimated that almost 300 million PLN has been already spent. Further, return on the investment will never balance the costs and involved risks are very high.
Additionally, one of the main investors of Ostrołęka C – Enea – owns and manages the coal power plant in Kozienice, the third in Poland and sixteenth in Europe most polluting power plant. It is estimated that the old blocs of the power plant cause about 650 early deaths each year. The power plant has significant negative effect on the local rivers, too. Meanwhile, other Polish power companies funded by mBank – PGE and ZE PAK – plan to build new open pits in Poland – such investments are very controversial and they local inhabitants’ protests. One of these projects, Złoczew mine, is quite advanced now.
mBank is financially involved in the biggest Polish coal companies, e.g. PGE, ZE PAK, Enea. In 2014, mBank, along with other banks, concluded a programme agreement with Enea concerning bonds issue. In 2016 (together with 4 other banks) it signed an annex to the previous investment loan agreement with ZE PAK, concerning a loan for funding the final stage of modernisation of coal blocs in Pątnów I. Meanwhile, in 2015 the company, along with a consortium of banks, concluded a long-term loan agreement (term and renewable loan) with PGE.
– If mBank wants to support pro-health and environment-friendly activities, it should act consistently (like in 2017) and stop granting new loans to coal companies or signing agreements concerning issue of bonds by coal companies. It should also implement principles and requirements concerning environment and climate protection – especially withdrawal of coal as raw resource. We appreciate mBank’s effort to improve its climate policies and we hope that it won’t fund Ostrołęka power plant, or Energa and Enea which have created this project – Joanna Kubicka stressed.
The activists declare also that they will take part in the General Assembly of Stockholders of Comerzbank to be held in Frankfurt-am-Mein. Comerzbank is the main stockholder of mBank in Poland.
Katarzyna Kubiczek, Ecological Association Eko-Unia
firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 669 147 997
Joanna Kubicka, Ecological Association Eko-Unia
email@example.com, tel. 605 638 989
Paweł Pomian, Ecological Association Eko-Unia
firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. 668 268 730