On Monday, July 6th, Maciej Gajewski, President of the Management Board of Santander Bank Polska, gave a written answer to a question of a shareholder, Jakub Gogolewski, which was posed during the bank’s Annual General Meeting, which took place in Warsaw on 6/22/2020.
In its Monday response, published by Santander Bank Polska on the bank’s website, the president of the Management Board, Gajewski, confirmed that “as per the declaration issued to the Shareholders during the Annual Meeting on June, 22 – we are planning to reduce the Bank’s exposure to coal producers by 2030 (with the provision that we are talking about the expiration of all the contracts made by the bank in the past).” While mentioning “coal producers”, the Bank means coal and lignite extraction.
Thereby, Santander Bank Polska is joining a growing group of banks that are planning to put an end to coal mining financing by 2030. The date has been established according to a scientific consensus regarding the deadline of ending the coal extraction and combustion in all the countries members of OECD.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that Santander Bank has not made any similar commitment when it comes to electric power and thermal energy producers. Backing away from financing coal energy companies is a necessary step in order to limit the effects of climate crises. We can read about it, among others, in October 2018 Report of Integovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The declaration of Santander Bank’s management board of withdrawing from the coal extraction financing is a step in a good direction. However, let's not forget that there's still a long road in front of them. It is necessary for the Bank to adjust its lending and investment activity to the changes forced by the climate crises building up. The bank’s future acts should come together with the scientific consensus regarding the climate and make sure that the global temperature raises no more than 1,5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial times. This is the only way to enable Santander clients’ security and stable living conditions in the future.