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Kiwis Dump Westpac over Fossil Fuel Investments

12 April 2014

Kiwis Dump Westpac over Fossil Fuel Investments

Today 8 Westpac customers gathered in Christchurch to hold a mass Westpac bank account closing event.

More than 160 people all over the country have signaled they plan to close their Westpac accounts this week as part of a campaign led by 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa calling on Westpac to stop its financing of Bathurst Resources, the company that has permits to mine the Denniston Plateau for coal.

‘Like so many other Westpac customers around the country, I have asked Westpac to make good on their sustainability promises and stop financing the company which plans to mine at Denniston,’ said 350 Christchurch supporter Tor Wainwright.

“Unfortunately, Westpac has not held up its sustainability commitments. They are funding climate change through their financing of Bathurst, so I am closing my accounts with them today.”

Recent media releases from Westpac have shown that even while they like to claim a strong record on “sustainability” they have questioned the science behind climate change. “I don’t want to do business with climate change deniers” said Wainwright.

The movement for institutions and corporations like banks to divest from fossil fuels is growing around the world, with banks such as the European Investment bank and the World Bank signaling they plan to stop new investment in new coal projects. Recently the Norwegian Government Pension Fund pulled all of its investments out of fossil fuel companies – including Bathurst. “Investing in coal mining is undermining all the work that people, families and communities are doing around the world to fight climate change,” said Wainwright. “I expect my bank to work with me for my future, not against me.”

Coal is a major contributor to climate change, the impacts of which will leave nobody untouched, according to the latest IPCC report released this month.

‘Westpac markets itself as the most sustainable bank. But investing in a company planning the most climate changing project in Aotearoa is the definition of unsustainable. Westpac can’t have its cake and eat it too when it comes to climate change,’ said Wainwright.

“Closing my bank accounts wasn’t easy or simple, but it feels good to know that I’m not allowing any of my money to fund this destruction. I’d rather be part of the solution than stay with Westpac and be part of the problem.”

More Info at http://350.org.nz/

ENDS

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