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Activism

‘Stop fossil fuels or get out our city’: Spoof ads in Liverpool target bank

Artists targeting Standard Chartered’s fossil fuels lending called their Liverpool Football Club sponsorship an “own goal for climate justice”

Climate activists are protesting Standard Chartered fossil fuels investment with more than 50 spoof adverts covering “hacked” billboards and bus stops in Liverpool.

The bank is one of the UK’s top five biggest financiers of the coal industry, according to Rainforest Action Network research, funnelling around £23bn into fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions was struck in 2015.

Grassroots campaigners Brandalism said the bank’s sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club (LFC) is a “cynical distraction to divert global football fans from their lending to coal, oil and gas projects”.

The posters were installed by activists in the city, without permission from the local council, and call on the bank’s customers to “give Standard Chartered the red card”.

Standard Chartered are using Liverpool Football Club to export their brand to a global market so people trust them, making it easier for them to invest in dangerous fossil fuel projects,” said one of the poster artists, who has chosen to go by the name “Fart Attack”, in a press release.

“The coal projects that Standard Chartered finance in Indonesia, for example, have displaced hundreds of people through flooding caused by deforestation and another coal plant is expected to cause [thousands of] premature deaths from air pollution

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“Investing in fossil fuels whilst claiming to be ‘green’ and using LFC to do this just isn’t on. I made this art so people in my city can be more aware of what Standard Chartered are about and to tell them stop investing in fossil fuels or get out of our city.”

One poster design features the Standard Chartered logo, with the tagline: “Supporting deforestation, flash floods and Liverpool FC”.

Another targets LFC’s decision to choose Standard Chartered as sponsors, dubbing it an “own goal for climate justice”.

Standard Chartered, Barclays and HSBC were responsible for more than 94 per cent of UK banks’ coal industry investment between 2018 and 2020, while Standard Chartered’s business interests in Asia made it the biggest UK lender to coal power expansion specifically.

A spokesperson for the bank said: “We’re supporting clients in their own transition to net zero, including through providing the capital and expertise they need to do so. Our climate risk management framework includes transition risk metrics and risk appetite which are being incorporated into our credit decisions.”

LFC launched its own sustainability initiative, The Red Way, earlier this year.

Standard Chartered primarily funds fossil fuel projects in areas such as Indonesia and the Philippines. Salsabila Khairunissa, a 17-year-old Fridays for Future climate activist from Indonesia, said: “Standard Chartered’s vision is ‘to be the world’s most sustainable and responsible bank’, but behind the scenes, they have been funding the climate crisis, the violation of human rights, and the degradation of nature.”

Environmental campaign group Market Forces warned the bank that if it did not set out robust plans to phase out its involvement with fossil fuels, the campaigners would organise a shareholder vote on the issue for next year’s annual meeting.

The Standard Chartered spokesperson added that it is developing transition plans for carbon-heavy sectors and requires clients to cut their coal revenue threshold to five per cent by 2030.

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