Despite coming under pressure from Western environmental activists, British bank HSBC has said it will continue to fund coal power in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam
HSBC has also promised to stop lending to coal power projects in developed markets by the end of 2019.
Daniel Klier, head of strategy and sustainable finance at HSBC, said coal power was still the only realistic way to sufficiently increase the power supply in coal-rich developing countries such as Bangladesh, where 62 million people still lack no access to electricity.
“We are trying to balance two different sustainable development goals of getting power to the people and limiting the environmental impact,” Mr Klier told the FT.
Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam have all made huge strides on poverty reduction in recent years, thanks in part to a mass-expansion of the coal-powered grid.
All three Asian countries favour coal because it’s available locally in the region and unlike solar, it can provide “baseload” electricity that can operate day and night.