Please tell ANZ what you think about Gunns’ proposed pulp mill:
International cyberaction launched to lobby new director over ANZ support of Gunns’ destruction of Tasmania’s forests.
The Wilderness Society, in conjunction with BankTrack (a network of 23 international civil society organisations tracking private finance) and Rainforest Action Network, has launched http://www.tellmrsmith.org — an online cyberaction asking the new Director of ANZ, Mike Smith, not to support Gunns’ destruction of Tasmania’s native forests or its proposed pulp mill.
Mr Smith is a man with an extraordinary task. He will assume the role of ANZ’s Chief Executive Officer from October 1st and will take responsibility for ANZ’s environmental and social impacts. Mr Smith arrives at a time when ANZ is heavily involved with Gunns Ltd and its controversial pulp mill. If the mill were to proceed, it would spell disaster for one of the world’s great natural areas, dramatically increasing logging and burning of native forest, and putting deadly chemicals from the mill’s chlorine-based bleaching process into Tasmania’s waters.
Mr Smith was CEO of HSBC when in 2004 they were one of four international banks which founded the Equator Principles. The Equator Principles are a financial industry benchmark for determining, assessing and managing social & environmental risk in project financing. An analysis of Gunns’ pulp mill proposal and the assessment process were found not to meet the Equator Principles from an assessment done by BankTrack
Since 1995 ANZ has provided crucial financial services to Gunns. Today ANZ provides the company with secured bank loans with a current debt thought to be more than AU$300 million (US$250 million). In respect of the pulp mill, ANZ is understood to have advised on the project and is also the lead arranger of finance. Further, Gunns’ management states that ANZ is certain to provide project finance, underwrite the mill, and that the bank has already arranged export credit deals from Europe.
Mr Smith should ensure that the Equator Principles are met for Gunns’ proposed pulp mill. He can prevent widespread impacts by ending support for the destruction of Tasmania’s native forests and Gunns’ proposed Bell Bay pulp mill.
Paul I. J. Oosting
Pulp Mill Campaigner
The Wilderness Society (Tasmania) Inc.