Stop Standard Bank funding air pollution and making us sick

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Stop Standard Bank funding air pollution and making us sick
Stop Standard Bank funding air pollution and making us sick
1,000 signatures required

We see it when the sun rises and sets; pink skies from toxic particles of pollution from burning coal. Everyday we have no choice but to breathe in polluted air which experts say is making us sick [1]. Private companies now want to build additional new coal-fired power stations in Thabametsi in Limpopo and Khanyisa in Mpumalanga [2] but they can’t do it without funding from Banks. Banks like Standard Bank want to make loads of money, while lines at our clinics grow longer with our people coughing from air pollution related illnesses like heart disease, asthma and bronchitis. This puts the financial burden of ill health on people and the state.

We can change this. The proposed coal power stations could be cancelled if enough investors pull out. So far both Nedbank [3] and First Rand Bank [4] have pulled out thanks to our pressure. Standard Bank is one of the remaining investors. They spend big budgets on their brand so that we continue to trust and do business with them. Standard Bank say they “...assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of [their] decisions” [5].

If enough of us come together we can expose their hypocrisy, and show that investing in new proposed coal-fired power stations like Thabametsi and Khanyisa power stations will pollute our air, contaminate our water and damage our land. We can show Standard Bank that it is no longer possible to escape the conclusion that coal-fired electricity generation is a dirty, outdated, expensive, and inefficient electricity option, which is far outpaced by cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient alternatives.

If Standard Bank doesn’t make a commitment to permanently abstain from funding coal pollution then they are going against their values and misleading their clients, so if we act quickly we could stop Standard Bank from funding the spread of illnesses and damaging our environment. 

Public pressure is mounting against coal. These new proposed coal power deals lock South Africa into dirty, excessively-expensive electricity, at a time when every effort should be made to move South Africa’s to a cleaner future with renewable energy. Financing these projects flies in the face of Standard Bank’s stated commitment to “assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of [its] decisions and how best to create value for the business in a way that also produces value for society”[6].

This campaign is being driven by groundWork, with support from amandla .mobi

Dear Standard Bank CEO, Lungisa Fuzile

We call on you to publicly announce that you will pull out of financing the proposed Thabametsi and Khanyisa coal power stations before the end of December 2018. Any funding of coal fired power stations or coal mining clearly contradicts your so called commitment to investments that focus on social, economic and environmental good.

Communities are already struggling. Additional coal-fired power stations will mean more people getting sick, less drinkable water and accelerating climate chaos which is already hitting the poor first and hardest. Both Thabametsi and Khanyisa will have extremely high greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensities (almost 60% higher than Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile power stations), and therefore will lead to extremely high and irreversible climate impacts.

The inclusion of new coal in the South African energy mix will also cost South Africa close to R20 billion [7] more than we need to spend, and will make electricity more expensive for all South Africans – since these costs will be passed on to the consumer.

Consider the lives and well-being of the poor.

[1] Air pollution from coal power stations causes disease and kills thousands of South Africans every year, says UK expert. September 2017

[2] Banks under pressure to stop funding coal,, Lisa Steyn 27 September 2018



[5] Gregory Ireland & Jesse Burton, Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town, An assessment of new coal plants in South Africa’s electricity future: the cost, emissions, and supply security implications of the coal IPP programme, May 2018. Available at:


[7] Standard Bank letter from CEO 2017


Will you sign?

If we act quickly we can expose Standard Banks plans to help fund air pollution. If enough of us come together Standard Bank could pull out of the project and other investors will have to think twice about financing coal-fired power stations Thabametsi in Limpopo and Khanyisa in Mpumalanga.