Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) led by bankero Eugene Acevedo has stopped lending to new coal-fire power projects as early as 2020 in its bid to protect the environment.
“RCBC is committed to protecting the environment. In line with this, we stopped all lending to coal-fired power plants in 2020 and expect our books to be completely cleared of such loans by 2031,” the Yuchenghco-led bank said in a statement.
The International Finance Corp. (IFC) came under fire for allegedly failing to observe strict standards in its investments in RCBC. The investment arm of the World Bank invested about P2 billion to acquire a 6.9 percent stake in the Yuchengco-led bank in 2010.
Based on the audit conducted by the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, RCBC applied IFC’s environmental and social requirements to 10 coal-fired power plans in the Philippines and one more plant that the bank has committed to finance.
However, Acevedo earlier said that RCBC aims to zero out its remaining and existing exposure in coal-fired power projects in the Philippines by 2023 as it continues to shift lending to renewable energy projects.
“As part of RCBC’s commitment to the environment and to the world we all live in, we are phasing out lending to coal-fired power plants by 2031. A call to be part of the net zero revolution has started,” the bankero said.
RCBC became the first local commercial bank to officially end extending financing to new coal-fired power projects in December 2020.
Since 2012, the bank has been focusing on renewable energy as it is now amortizing its coal exposure every year until it reaches zero in 2031.
The Yuchengco-led bank believes in building sustainable partnerships through projects with clear environmental and social benefits.
“From the start of our partnership with IFC in 2011, we have always ensured that any project we fund follows local environmental regulations and standards,” RCBC said.