On 18 September 2018, Market Forces filed three identical specific instances against Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and Mizuho Financial Group (Mizuho) at the Japanese NCP. The complaints concerns activities of SMBC, MUFG, and Mizuho in Vietnam related to their financing of several Vietnamese coal power plants.
The complainants allege that SMBC, MUFG and Mizuho have breached the OECD Guidelines by failing to:
- Exercise their leverage on the project sponsors to ensure communities impacted by coal-fired power stations were adequately consulted and had their views taken into account during project development;
- Require project sponsors to provide – or themselves provide – environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) and other information on the environmental, livelihood, or health impacts of the projects to enable project-affected communities to make informed decisions about the projects; and,
- Urge project sponsor to assess, prevent or minimise environmental damage and impacts to human rights such as the right to a livelihood or the right to a healthy environment.
Complainants are seeking mediation, failing which, recommendations from the NCP that the financial institutions:
- Provide stakeholders with key project information such as ESIAs or, in the alternative, use their leverage to urge the sponsor to disclose ESIAs for the projects;
- Use their leverage to ensure that the project sponsors consult with rights holders and stakeholders in respect of the projects;
- Conduct an independent review of human rights and other environmental impacts in respect of Nghi Son 2 power plant;
- Review their lending to Nghi Son 2 power plan in light of the above impacts;
- Confirm which projects the banks’ policies exclude; and,
- Consider changing their policies to exclude lending to any coal-fired power projects in Vietnam, given coal’s serious environmental impacts and the availability of renewable alternatives to coal.