S.Africa's Nedbank aims zero exposure to fossil fuels by 2045

(Reuters, 22 Apr 2021) South Africa, the continent's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, gets most of its power from coal-fired power stations.

South Africa's Nedbank will stop funding new thermal coal mines by 2025 and halt direct funding of new oil and gas exploration as it plans to phase out fossil fuel exposure over the next 24 years, it said on Thursday.

South African lenders - among the biggest banks in the continent - face pressure from environmental groups to stop funding fossil fuel-based projects viewed as a major risk to global plans to tackle climate change.

Nedbank, one of the country's four biggest banks, said it aimed to have zero exposure to all activities related to fossil fuels by 2045 and to accelerate financing of renewable energy.

"Nedbank's energy policy serves to guide the bank's transition away from fossil fuels while still providing appropriate support to existing energy requirements," said Nedbank chief financial officer Mike Davis.

The bank said it would limit financing for thermal coal mining companies further to 0.5% of the group's total advances by 2030.

"We are going to transition away from thermal coal, as indicated per this policy, and our clients are hopefully going to transition with us," said Davis.

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Reuters, 22 Apr 2021: S.Africa's Nedbank aims zero exposure to fossil fuels by 2045