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ING finances controversial coal-fired power station in Indonesia

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Hague / Tokyo / Jakarta, 9 December 2019

Farmers and fishermen in Cirebon, Indonesia are reporting intimidation, land grabbing and pollution directly linked to the development of a new coal-fired power station in the area. This coal-fired power station is being financed by several banks including ING which has invested $125 million, despite a declaration in 2015 that it would no longer finance coal. New research by Fair Finance Japan shows that ING and other banks financing this coal-fired power plant are violating international guidelines for corporate social responsibility.

The investigation by Fair Finance Japan, “Indonesian Co-fired Power Exposed to Corruption”, indicates that ING, a few Japanese banks and a Korean bank financing this new coal-fired power plant are violating international CSR standards on 66 counts. This involves violation of the Equator Principles, the IFC Performance Standards, the UN Global Compact, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The standards being violated are in the areas of human rights, corruption, climate, pollution, and the lack of compensation for the local population for expected negative impacts on their livelihoods as a result of the new coal-fired power station. 

Peter Ras, Fair Finance Netherlands Program Lead: "ING must take seriously the growing concerns of local farmers and fishermen in Indonesia about the construction of a new coal-fired power plant. Stop financing this new coal-fired power plant now. Financing a new coal-fired power plant that will cause damage for decades to human health and contribute significantly to climate change is absurd and totally socially irresponsible."

The new coal-fired power plant is being built in Cirebon, on West Java in Indonesia, alongside an existing power plant that was commissioned in 2012. The new coal-fired power station is expected to lead to negative consequences for the environment and the employment of local farmers and fishermen. Local people who protested against the construction of the coal-fired power station have been threatened. No adequate research has been done into the environmental impact of the coal-fired power plant and the consequences of its pollution. There are clear signs of corruption around the construction of the coal-fired power station. Furthermore, the construction of the new coal-fired power station in Indonesia, part financed by ING, is expected to make a major contribution to climate change for decades to come.

Over the past five years, the Fair Finance Guide has repeatedly campaigned against ING's coal investments (see, for example: " French bank is withdrawing from financing a new controversial coal-fired power station in Indonesia. ING is following a good example! " " Java demonstration against coal which ING also invests in "and" ING again involved in controversial energy project "). ING is the only Dutch bank that finances this project.

In 2015 and 2017, ING tightened its coal policy and in July 2017, ING stopped financing of another new coal-fired power station, in the Dominican Republic. However, ING is continuing the financing of the new coal-fired power station in Cirebon, regardless of protests from the local population and repeated complaints against ING about this from Indonesian NGOs.

New film recordings made by Indonesian civil society organizations working together with Fair Finance Indonesia - ResponsiBank Indonesia - show that the livelihoods of local fishermen and farmers in the vicinity of the new coal-fired power plant are negatively impacted. View the full video here (5 minutes).

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