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Our Approach to
Coal Sector

Financing towards coal-fired power plants (CFPP) and thermal coal mining has been subjected to increased scrutiny by financial institutions, regulators, investors, non-governmental organisations and society at large, due to climate change concerns, community impacts, and the risk of stranded assets.

To tackle climate change, developed and developing countries made pledges based on their respective financial and technological capabilities, levels of economic development, limitations and needs. In ASEAN, 65 million people remain without access to electricity today. While the region has made efforts in adopting low-carbon energy, by 2040, coal will still account for 40% of the energy mix to support the region’s economic and population growth[1].

Given this reality, we have adopted a philosophy that allows us to make meaningful impact in a planned and phased way, anchored on three principles:

  1. In developed markets, we will actively finance sustainable alternatives given factors such as grid capacity, electrification ratio and tariff reform present a relatively mature environment for renewable energy.
  2. In developing markets, we will pursue viable renewable projects; and at a minimum, direct our financing towards more efficient fossil-fuel based technologies. We will also work with clients to put in safeguards in line with regulation and best practice.
  3. We will rebalance our portfolio towards sustainable activities by consciously seeking such projects to work on.

In line with this philosophy, DBS is committed to:

  • Discontinuing project financing of new greenfield CFPP in OECD/developed markets.
  • Directing our financing to more efficient technologies (supercritical combustion technologies or above) in non-OECD /developing markets.
  • Ceasing project financing of greenfield thermal coal mines.
  • Only supporting customers with a diversification strategy on a corporate financing basis.

Legacy issues may arise from business entered into before the implementation of this policy. We will honour existing commitments, but there will be no expansion of these engagements.

Customers will be evaluated in greater depth if their operations involve i) large scale resettlement; ii) adverse impacts on indigenous peoples; or iii) potential impacts to critical habitat.

The above commitments are in addition to the restrictions in place to withhold financing to projects or activities which adversely affect national or international protected areas such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We rely on International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards, relevant IFC Industry Sector Guidelines, and Principles and Guidelines of the International Council on Mining and Metals as guiding benchmarks.

[1] Source: Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2017, International Energy Agency, 2017

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