December 13, 2016

Turkey’s top climate killer bank praised as climate champion

Turkey’s second largest private bank, Garanti, which finances the country’s coal boom, received the 2016 Climate Performance Leadership award from a UK network of investors earlier this month. Environmental groups shed light on the destructive impacts of the dodgy deals the bank is involved in, in order to counter its green claims deceiving the European public.

Garanti Bank provided financial support to more than 6GW of coal power, which contribute millions of tons of CO2 to the pace gaining global warming and are firmly opposed by local communities. Garanti has been directly involved in financing coal power plant projects, and has provided significant financial support to the privatization of existing coal power plants. This resulted in extending their lifetime due to the privatization process at their respective age of retirement.

Despite the bank’s involvement in Turkey’s coal rush, with currently 80 new coal power plants in the pipeline, earlier this month a UK-based organization called CDP (former Carbon Disclosure Project) included Garanti Bank in its Climate Performance Leadership Index and ranked it among the top performing companies in their Climate A list. This is based on the bank’s publicly disclosed sustainability report and climate change action plan. However, these reports overlook information on the share of coal in the bank’s portfolio.

Elif Gündüzyeli, Climate Action Network Europe, Turkey Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator, said “Garanti’s green claims deceive the European public into believing that the bank takes climate change into account in its investment decisions. Behind a smokescreen of committing to introduce shadow carbon pricing, asking clients to plant trees and reducing emissions in office buildings, the bank hides destruction of the climate and people’s livelihoods.”

Cansın Leylim Ilgaz, 350.org Turkey Campaigner said: “For decades, peoples of Turkey have been resisting coal power plants that harm their health, environment and livelihoods. Just last May, people demonstrated their resistance to the Garanti-financed Izdemir coal power plant in Aliağa region. Banks like Garanti are financing fossil fuels, using our money to drive agricultural, environmental destruction while driving irreversible climate change that affects the whole planet. There is no real climate leadership without divesting from fossil fuels.”

Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator at Banktrack, said “Garanti told us last year that they were ‘in line’ with the vision of our ‘Paris Pledge’, which was a commitment to phase out financing for the coal sector. Yet there’s no mention of ‘coal’ in their answer to the CDP, and the bank has not adopted a single measure to reduce coal financing, unlike many of its European or American peers. It’s therefore ridiculous to picture Garanti as a global leader on climate in the CDP ranking.”

Aytaç Tolga Timur, Yeryüzü Derneği (Earth Association) highlighted the impacts of coal finance on the ground and said, “It is surprising to see Garanti Bank on CDP’s Global A list. Garanti Bank may have disclosed some sustainability data, but it does not mean that they are on track for low carbon pathway. Garanti financed the privatization of Seyitömer coal power plant, where we have observed serious human rights violations on ground. Seyitömer is one of the dirtiest and oldest coal plants in Europe. It is still operating thanks to privatization support.”

Notes:

CDP 2016 List of Companies in Climate Leadership Index:

https://b8f65cb373b1b7b15feb-c70d8ead6ced550b4d987d7c03fcdd1d.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/cms/reports/documents/000/001/372/original/CDP_Turkey_Report_2016.pdf?1480699165

Garanti Bank financed coal projects: Iskenderun Power Plant, Silopi Power Plant, Göynük Power Plant, Zetes III Power Plant, Aliağa İzdemir Power Plant, Atlas Power Plant

Garanti Bank financed coal project privatizations: Yeniköy Power Plant, Kemerköy Power Plant, Kangal Power Plant, Seyitömer Power Plant

More information on individual coal power projects: https://endcoal.org/tracker/

Garanti Bank’s CDP Sustainability report: https://www.garantiinvestorrelations.com/tr/images/pdf/CDP-climate-change-2016.pdf

More information on Turkey’s coal centered energy policies: https://www.caneurope.org/energy/turkey

More information on Paris Pledge campaign:

https://dotheparispledge.org/

Contacts:

350.org Turkey, Cansın Leylim, [email protected] , +90 532 547 90 43 (e-mail preferred due to travel)

Yeryüzü Derneği, Çisel Cengiz, [email protected] , +90 532 775 50 82

CAN Europe, Elif Gündüzyeli: [email protected] , +90 536 854 61 28

Banktrack, Yann Louvel, [email protected], +33 688 907 868.

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