Officials released a new environmental and social policy framework indicating that coal projects will be among its “prohibited transactions,” though it also has stated it will maintain its existing relationships with mining groups that produce coal along with other commodities.
It also will not finance new coal-fired power plants in “high-income” countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); some OECD countries include Australia, Canada, Germany and the U.S.
Outside of those countries, the bank will only finance plant projects that involve “ultra-supercritical” technology.
“We believe the financial services sector has an important role to play as governments implement policies to combat climate change,” the company said. “The trends toward more sustainable, low-carbon economies represent growing business opportunities.”
JPMorgan, which some time ago put a stop to its financing of mountaintop removal mining, was previously one of the top financial backers of coal-fired power facilities.
Other firms that have already backed away from coal include Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, part of a trend to scale back from coal that grew as the COP21 environmental summit convened last December in Paris.
National Mining Association (NMA) spokesman Luke Popovich said JPMorgan’s move is “hardly a heroic gesture” in the current fossil fuel market.
“The bank hedges its bets on financing projects in developing countries, because, not surprisingly, that’s where the growth is and will be,” he said.
JPMorgan’s policy can be viewed in its entirety here.