ANZ and Gunns

Last week the Wilderness Society targeted the ANZ in protest against their involvement with the Gunns Pulp Mill. At the behest of GetUp, I wrote to ANZ telling them I intended to withdraw as a customer if they went ahead and funded the mill. Today I received a reply, saying the ANZ have “not made a decision on whether to finance the project” and have committed to “applying the Equator Principles to our decision … We have engaged an independent environmental expert to assist us with this process”.In summary, we will only fund the mill once we are assured that:

*    all potential significant social and environmental issues have been identified;
*    measures to manage these are put in place by the client; and
*    the regulating governments are satisfied with these measures.

More info can be found on the ANZ “current issues” website.

Now is the time for anyone who has a bank account or credit card  with the ANZ to get in touch with them about the pulp mill.

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Posted in activism, environment
8 comments on “ANZ and Gunns
  1. Tim Norton says:

    My favourite was the shameless PR plug at the end – picture a cheery, ditsy voice and read the last paragraph: “If you’re interested in ANZ and our extended clientele, you might like to sign up to our readers newsletter service, where we’ll keep you up to date with ANZ directions and hot tips!”
    jeezuz…

  2. If you don’t have money borrowed from a bank, that bank is not going to care two hoots if you remain a customer or not. A possible exception is if you have umpteen millions in an investment deposit with them.

    Even a a mortgage with them isn’t going to cause much more than a “ho-hum” when you leave, unless that mortgage is $5 million-plus.

    A large number of customers refinancing a mortgage away from ANZ, because of one loan the bank is making may cause them to take notice. But I wouldn’t count on anything more than excellent spin being put into how the matter is presented publicly.

    But at this stage it will be just the PR arm of the bank positioning themselves to better spin the issue in case it gets bigger later on.

  3. Paul Burns says:

    Yeah. Got the same reply. The Get-up/Wilderness Society campaign might work. At
    least ANZ can’t say they didn’t know.
    The people to be targetting are Rudd and Garrett, to get them to reverse the decision.
    Maybe somebody else giving scientific advice.
    But Kev 08 seems happy to work with Howard leftovers. And I suppose it wouldn’t be healthy for the country to sack and rehire the public service with every change of Government, like Howard. Maybe just a few stern warnings.

  4. Katz says:

    Such a nattering nabob of negativism SATP!

    As a shareholder in ANZ I sent Mr Smith a specially composed email explaining my perspective on how financing Gunns may be detrimental to my property in the company.

    Along with the 80,000 or so who also emailed Mr Smith, I got the very same reply as everyone else.

    Of course, I could sell my shares tomorrow. The transaction wouldn’t leave a ripple in the vast ocean of private finance. But at least Mr Smith knows that someone who backed his company for reasons of self-interest might decide to withdraw that backing for reasons of enlightened self-interest.

  5. Good on ya, suzeoz. Banks care a lot more about their PR than they often care to admit. Especially as there are a growing number of individuals and corporations out there determined to be ethical investors.
    SATP can be as cynical as he likes – acting on principle and writing to the ANZ was the way to go. At least suzeoz can sleep well at night.

  6. joe2 says:

    Satp, ‘image is everything’ in the banking world like all corporations. Westpac has made very good play of its supposed ethical banking credentials, if you had been watching, lately.

    Indeed, while still relatively small in numbers, ethical investors have done particularly well ‘investment wise’ relative to ordinary ‘who gives a stuff profiteers’, in recent times.

  7. Liam Hogan says:

    Dear oh dear.
    Threatening to withdraw your money from a bank is hardly going to influence their decisions to lend or not to lend to Gunns. Don’t you know that money lent by a bank is simply money created out of nothing, without reference to the assets of the bank? Don’t you realise that when you keep your savings in an account, it just turns into imaginary numbers, worth infinitely less than something nice and solid like gold or diamond?
    When are GetUp going to do something about the fractional reserve ratio?

  8. joe2 says:

    Paul Oosting from The Wilderness Society was to address the ANZ General Meeting, today, on the issue of loans to Gunns. A sure sign that ANZ is taking no notice of the bad publicity and GetUps’ mail campaign, I guess.

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