SMBC should show real commitment to align its business strategy with the Paris Agreement by withdrawing and making a total exit from all coal projects. It should also declare that it will not fund any coal project, not even so-called clean coal.

The dirty bit about SMBC

Dear Members of the Green Climate Fund Board,

We write to you to express our strong opposition to the accreditation application of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a major lender to coal developers with a long history of financing coal projects in developing countries.

The SMBC is the world’s third biggest lender to coal plant developers and continues to finance coal plants that undermine global climate goals. Research finds that between 2017 and 2019, SMBC has provided USD $8 billion in loans to coal plant developers.[1] A dirty company cannot be a legitimate partner in the implementation of climate projects in developing countries it has placed into carbon lock-in for years to come.

On April 16, 2020, SMBC announced a revised policy effective May 1, 2020, which states that for coal-fired power generation:

“Support for newly planned coal-fired power plants, in principle, is not provided. Exceptions may be considered for those projects which use environmentally friendly technologies, such as ultra-supercritical pressure and for those projects which have been provided support before the revision.”

There are numerous studies that show this so-called clean coal technology may be more “efficient” in terms of generating energy per ton of coal, but global greenhouse gases and other toxic substances are still produced in significant levels that are harmful to health, the environment and climate. Furthermore, meeting the goals of the Paris agreement requires a swift just transition away from coal, followed by other fossil fuel energy. SMBC is currently considering its support for controversial Vung Ang 2 in Vietnam using ultra-supercritical pressure technology, which is an example of the exceptions it mentions in its revised policy.

Projects which have been approved for support before the new policy are also exempted by SMBC's new policy. These include the Cirebon 2, Tanjung Jati B units 5 & 6, and Batang in Indonesia and Van Phong 1 and Nghi Son 2 in Vietnam. SMBC is also involved as financial advisor in two projects on Matarbari Island in Bangladesh. All of these projects are high-polluting projects that are being met by strong resistance by communities at the site, and by many climate and energy civil society groups in these countries, in the rest of Asia and around the world.[2]

Given SMBC’s track record, its continued involvement in highly controversial coal plants, and its inadequate new coal policy, we cannot agree with the findings that SMBC is “strongly committed to contributing to the Paris Agreement.” We struggle daily with the impacts of coal-fired power plants in our communities and we say SMBC does not meet the GCF standards of environmental and social governance. Approval of its accreditation application puts the reputation of the GCF on the line and makes a mockery of the mandated objectives of the Fund. There is no justification for GCF to consider giving a dirty company access to public funds that are needed, now more than ever, for urgent climate action.

SMBC should show real commitment to align its business strategy with the Paris Agreement by withdrawing from the above mentioned projects immediately and making a total exit from all coal projects. It should also declare that it will not fund any coal project, not even so-called clean coal.


  1. The December 2019 report by Urgewald, Banktrack and 30 partner NGOs on global financiers of the coal industry found that Japan’s biggest commercial banks -- Mizuho Financial Group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group are ranked first, second and third biggest lenders to the top coal plant developer companies, respectively. Together these mega banks provided USD 39.3 billion in loans to coal plant developers between 2017-2019.



  • Action Aid International
  • Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)
  • Catholic Agency of Overseas Development (CAFOD)
  • China-Latin America Sustainable Investments Initiative
  • Fight Inequality Alliance Asia
  • Friends of the Earth Asia-Pacific
  • Focus on the Global South
  • Fridays For Future
  • Greenpeace –Southeast Asia
  • Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)
  • Migrant Forum in Asia
  • NGO Forum on ADB
  • Oil Change International
  • Oxfam International
  • Pacific Climate Warriors
  • People of Asia for Climate Solutions (PACS)
  • Power Shift Africa
  • Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition
  • South Asian People's Action on Climate Crisis (SAPACC)
  • Women’s development and Environment Organization (WEDO)
  • 350 Africa
  • 350 Asia
  • 350 Pacific


  • Youth 4 Climate Action Australia
  • Market Forces


  • Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation (BAFLF)
  • Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Network on Climate Change
  • Bangladesh Krishok Federation
  • Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA)
  • Center for Environment, Human Rights & Development Forum (CEHRDF)
  • CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network)
  • Innoel Renewable Energy bangladesh
  • Maleya Foundation
  • Waterkeepers Bangkadesh
  • Women Resource Network (WRN)


  • Fridays for Future Brasil


  • Lelewal Foundation


  • Climate Strike Canada
  • Fridays for Future Toronto
  • Columbia University


  • Fundación Chile Sustentable
  • Universidad Catolica de Chile


  • Fridays for Future Bogota

Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Actions Communautaires pour le Développement Intégral (ACDI/ONGD)


  • Friday’s for Future


  • Alliance for Future Generations
  • Bua Urban Youth
  • Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality


  • Fridays for Future France
  • Youth for Climate France


  • Fridays for Future Hanover
  • Klimastreik
  • TSV Klub Infraschall
  • Urgewald


  • Brawn Capital Limited


  • All -India Women Hawkers Federation (AIWHF)
  • Association for Promotion of Sustainable Development
  • Environics Trust
  • Extinction Rebellion India
  • Extinction Rebellion Youth
  • Fridays for Future India
  • Fridays For Future Mumbai
  • Ganv Bhavancho Ekvott
  • Growthwatch
  • IIPC -India
  • Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
  • mines, minerals & People (mm&P)
  • Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology Allahabad
  • Nadi Ghati Morcha
  • National Fishworkers Forum
  • National Hawkers Federation (NHF)
  • Sustain Mantra


  • Indonesia
  • Aksi for gender, social and ecological justice
  • Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat (AEER)
  • Koalisi Responsibank Indonesia
  • KruHA (People’s Coaltion for Water Rights)
  • Trend Asia
  • WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia)
  • WALHI West Java


  • Extinction Rebellion Youth Dublin
  • Friday’s for Future Mayo


  • Japan
  • 350 Tokyo
  • Climate Action UT
  • Climate Reality Project -Japan
  • Fridays ForFuture Dazaifu
  • Fridays for Future Hiroshima
  • Friends of the Earth Japan
  • Foss Mountain Film
  • Greenpeace –Japan
  • International Resources and Energies Student Association
  • Mekong Watch
  • Pathway


  • The Jordanian Climate Change and Environment Protection Society


  • 350 Kiribati
  • Kiribati Climate Action Network


  • Friday’s for Future, Lebanon


  • Sahabat Alam Malaysia / Friends of the Earth Malaysia


  • Oyu Tolgoi Watch
  • Rivers without Boundaries, Mongolia


  • L’Association Femmes Pour L’ Egalite’ Et Democratie/Maroc


  • Center for Indigenous Peoples' Research and Development (CIPRED)
  • Digo Bikas Institute
  • Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative (HAMI)
  • Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Centre (KIRDARC Nepal)
  • Tax and Fiscal Justice Alliance – Nepal


  • Both ENDS
  • Friday’s for Future, Netherlands


  • Centro para la Autonomía y Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CADPI)


  • Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l'Environnement (ANSEN)


  • Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF)
  • Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC)
  • Sukaar Welfare Organization


  • Asociacion Kunas Unidos por Napguana (KUNA)


  • CHIRAPAQ Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú


  • Pilipinas
  • Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA)
  • Climate Reality Project Philippines
  • Ecological Society of the Philippines
  • Extinction Rebellion Philippines
  • Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
  • Greenpeace Philippines
  • Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC)
  • Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment
  • Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center - Friends of the Earth Philippines
  • Living Laudato Si' Philippines
  • Negrosanon Young Leaders Institute, Inc
  • Oriang Women's Movement
  • Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ)
  • Tebtebba Foundation
  • WomanHealth Philippines
  • Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP)
  • Youth Strike for Climate Philippines


  • Fridays for Future Romania


  • Friends of the Siberian Forests


  • Batlhabine Foundation
  • groundWork
  • Friends of the Earth South Africa


  • Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM)
  • Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC)
  • Transparency International Korea
  • Youth 4 Climate Action Korea


  • Fridays for Future


  • Climate Strike Switzerland
  • Friday’s for Future, Switzerland
  • Parents for the Climate


  • PINGO's Forum


  • Climate Watch Thailand
  • Green South Foundation


  • Centre for Citizens Conserving (CECIC)


  • Extinction Rebellion Youth
  • Fridays for Future
  • Fridays for Future Digital
  • School Strike for Climate
  • Scottish Youth Climate Strike


  • Bank Information Center
  • Friday’s for Future Digital
  • Friday’s for Future, Polluters Out!
  • Friends of the Earth US
  • Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Washington, DC


  • Vanuatu Climate Action Network


  • Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID)


  • Humana People to People

August 14, 2020

pdfPetition to the Green Climate Fund against SMBC’s accreditation