A NUMBER of leading church, development and environment charities have welcomed the Co-op Bank's commitment not to hold investments in the World Bank's private sector arm, International Finance Corporation.
Ethical and religious affairs website ekklesia.co.uk says the Bank has become increasingly concerned about the IFC's commitment to fossil fuel extraction and its failure to provide meaningful investment for renewable energy projects.
Industry monitors estimate that, in 2005, IFC was the world's largest multilateral financier of fossil fuel extraction. The agency devoted four per cent of its total energy lending to renewables and has set no concrete goals for increasing such financing.
"We are very pleased at the Co-operative Bank's action," said Tony Juniper, Executive Director of Fiends of the Earth. "Climate change is the single greatest threat facing the planet. Yet the IFC uses public funds to subsidise rich oil giants who exploit fossil fuel resources in developing countries."
Paul Monaghan, Head of Sustainable Development at the Bank, said: "We've looked at the recent investments of the World Bank's IFC and concluded there is an unhealthy focus on fossil fuel technologies. Henceforth, we will withhold investments until such time as renewable technologies are much better supported."