Bombshell report calls out NAB coal funding

Group of people in front of NAB with Move Beyond Coal, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and a banner that says "People of faith: say NAB don't fund Whitehaven Coal"

Move Beyond Coal (MBC) is made up of people concerned about a safe climate future. Coal mining is making global warming and climate change worse. MBC wants to stop new coal mines by challenging the banks funding coal, starting with NAB and its funding of Whitehaven Coal.

The Banking Climate Failure Report by Market Forces shows NAB has lent $4.5 billion to fossil fuel companies in the last two years, including $2.4 billion to new or expanded mines. This makes the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees (the 2016 Paris Agreement) harder to achieve. Which means this lending is also out of step with NAB’s stated climate policies.

Read the full report here.

Background: NAB’s words vs actions on climate

NAB says its climate strategy is designed to: “help achieve emissions reduction targets consistent with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100”

And: “our ambition is to act as a catalyst for climate action, supporting emissions reduction and aligning with pathways to net zero by 2050”.

NAB’s continued funding of fossil fuels makes those commitments look hollow.

What we know needs to happen

NAB can’t seriously claim to be committed to reducing emissions and limiting warming to 1.5 degrees when its actions help increase emissions.

NAB says it’s: “working with customers to improve their transition plans to a net-zero world” but that can’t include Whitehaven Coal. Whitehaven has no climate policy and no transition plan. All it does is mine coal, and it plans to massively increase production in the next few years.

Finally, NAB’s climate policy states: “We’re here to serve our customers and help our communities prosper.” Really? Coal mining might bring short-term financial gain to some, but much greater cost to many. Just ask the Australian communities ravaged by flood and fire in the last three years.

“It is one thing to say we support environmental change, but NAB’s actions demonstrate it’s all for show.”  NAB staff person at Anonymous Move Beyond Coal webinar, May 2023.

Continued funding of coal affects us all

NAB executives and shareholders might benefit from continued lending to coal, but the rest of us are paying the price.

NAB’s funding of coal enables emissions that harm our health and increase the risk of destructive climate change. This affects us now and will grow worse if we don’t act to stop it.

  • Air pollution: Fossil fuel pollution causes premature death (from cancer, heart disease, stroke) more asthma attacks and higher rates of ADHD and low birth-weight babies.
  • Cost of living:  Insurance costs (from flood and fire), energy and home insulation, food prices (due to food shortages from flood, drought etc) and health costs, are all affected.
  • Harmful weather events now: In just the last three years we have experienced record heats waves, destructive storms, devastating floods and terrifying bushfires.
  • Worse impacts in future: The intensity of floods, storms, drought and fires will increase as the world warms. Over time sea levels will rise and many in low lying areas, including our Pacific neighbours, will be made homeless.

To ignore the science of climate change is reckless and irresponsible. Fossil fuel expansion drives climate change, threatening human health and the future of our kids and grandkids”

Professor Fiona Stanley, Epidemiologist and former Australian of the Year (2003)

Get involved!

Our scientists tell us this is a human caused problem and we know how to fix it. The first step is to make deep and rapid cuts to fossil fuel use, quickly followed by stopping use completely.

Everyone has to act on climate, but huge funders like NAB, have a bigger responsibility. We and our children deserve a safe climate future and the chance to thrive. With NAB set to make a decision on their future funding climate wrecking companies like Whitehaven Coal, the time to act is NOW!

Even if you’ve never taken part in an action before, visiting your local NAB branch sharing resources about the report is a really quick, easy and effective way of making a difference. Check out the Uniting Advocacy Team’s visit to our local branch to see how it’s done.

Report Delivery Guide

(Use what is useful, modify to suit yourself and your context)

What to take:

Get some print outs to take with you and deliver to your branch

Beforehand: Take a photo of yourself/your group to send to us and post on social media

Enter the branch.

Our manner is friendly and purposeful. Our concern is with NAB policy and practice, not NAB staff.

Introduce yourself to a staff person.

“Hi, my name is XX  and I am a volunteer with the Move Beyond Coal team. MBC is a grassroots movement concerned that our banks continued funding of coal mining is making climate change worse.”

“A new report shows that NAB has increased its funding of coal mining in the last few years. We’d like to deliver those findings to your Branch Manager. Are they available right now?”

If they are available, introduce yourself to the Branch Manager and continue as below. If there is no manager or they are not available, briefly share the findings with the staff person

“I’m here today as a concerned community member (say if you are a NAB customer) to deliver findings from the Banking Climate Failure report, published by the organisation Market Forces. The report shows that, despite NAB painting itself as a climate leader, is has gone backwards in the last two years. In that time, it has actually increased its funding of the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $4.5 billion dollars.” And since 2016 it has leant $3.3 billion to the coal industry alone.

Ask As a NAB staff person were you aware of the size of NABs funding for fossil fuels?

“We are very concerned that is increasing global emissions and the likelihood of more severe climate change. As a parent/grandparent (or other role) I am worried what sort of world we are leaving for future generations.

Could you please share the findings from this report (give them the one-page summary) with other staff and pass it on to your manager if there is one. If not, could you please senior management know of our visit and the findings of this report. The QR code on the summary links to the full Market Forces report so staff can read it for themselves.”

Note: You can also share the cover letter you have personalised and the two-page information sheet on MBC, NAB’s policy and climate impacts. It is up to you.

To close

“Thank you very much for your time today. We will leave this information with you, and we hope you share it with others in NAB.”

Leave the branch.

If you have time, find a quiet spot and reflect on how that went:

  • How were you in yourself. What went well, what did you find challenging?
  • How did the staff receive you and the information?
  • Did you learn anything from this?

Allow yourself a sense of satisfaction in taking this action, in line with your values, regardless of how it went.

Please send us an email saying what branch you visited and sharing a photo of you/your group.

Send to

If you want other Move Beyond Coal have also developed a handy action guide with step-by-step instructions.

If you want to join with like-minded people in taking action, sign up to the Uniting Climate Action Network or have a chat to our Uniting advocacy team.