What companies & banks were considered for this research?

Company Scope

The research covers all companies and their subsidiaries from Urgewald's Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) 2023. Companies on GCEL represent 90% of global thermal coal production and global coal-fired capacity. GCEL offers statistics on over 1400 parent companies and over 1900 subsidiaries operating along the thermal coal value chain (coal exploration, processing, trading, transport & logistics, equipment manufacturing, mining, power production, etc.). It does not cover coal used for cement or steel production. 

In scope of the financial analysis are only deals for subsidiaries and parent companies of the firms that are listed on GCEL. Data is aggregated on parent level.


Financial Institutions Scope

The scope of research includes all commercial banks and financial institutions that have provided lending and underwriting services to coal companies. We exclude export credit agencies and (multilateral) development banks from the dataset. Financing is aggregated on group level.

What financial data was researched?

Our research covers loans and underwriting services provided to coal companies.

Read more about Loans

The easiest way to obtain debt is to borrow money. In most cases, money is borrowed from commercial banks. Loans can be either short-term or long-term in nature.

Short-term loans have a maturity of less than a year. They are mostly used as working capital for day-to-day operations. Short-term debts are often provided by a single commercial bank, which does not ask for substantial guarantees from the company.

A long-term loan has a maturity of at least one year, but generally of three to ten years. Long-term corporate loans are in particular useful to finance expansion plans, which only generate rewards after some period of time. The proceeds of corporate loans can be used for all activities of the company. Often long-term loans are extended by a loan syndicate, which is a group of banks brought together by one or more arranging banks. The loan syndicate will only undersign the loan agreement if the company can provide certain guarantees that interest and repayments on the loan will be fulfilled.

One specific form of corporate loan is project finance. This is a loan that is earmarked for a specific project. This type of financing is increasingly rare for coal projects. Most loans to coal companies, however, tend to be for general corporate purposes or for working capital.

Read more about Underwriting

Underwriting services provided by banks help companies bring shares or bonds to capital markets. 5% of underwriting services displayed have been for share issuances, 95% for the issuance of bonds. 


Share issuances

Issuing shares on the stock exchange gives a company the opportunity to increase its equity by attracting a large number of new shareholders or increase the equity from its existing shareholders. When a company offers its shares on the stock exchange for first time, this is called an Initial Public Offering (IPO). When a company’s shares are already traded on the stock exchange, this is called a secondary offering of additional shares. 

To arrange an IPO or a secondary offering, a company needs the assistance of banks, which will promote the shares and find shareholders. The investment bank purchases the shares initially and then promotes the shares and finds shareholders. When all issued shares that the financial institution has underwritten are sold, they are no longer included in the balance sheet or the portfolio of the financial institution. However, the assistance provided by financial institutions to companies in share issuances is crucial. They provide the company with access to capital markets, and provide a guarantee that shares will be bought at a pre-determined minimum price. 


Bond issuances

Issuing bonds can best be described as cutting a large loan into small pieces, and selling each piece separately. Like shares, bonds are traded on the stock exchange. To issue bonds, a company needs the assistance banks which underwrite a certain amount of the bonds. Underwriting is in effect buying with the intention of selling to investors. Still, in case the bank fails to sell all bonds it has underwritten, it will end up owning the bonds.

A note on green bonds and loans

Financing labeled as a pure “green” loan and bond issuance in the financial databases used for the research was not taken into account in the analysis. This is based on the conservative assumption that these green bonds and loans usually do not finance coal operations. However, we cannot be sure: Green labels are not streamlined across financial markets. Green is not a registered trademark, but a label used different by different labelling bodies. 

How was data processed?

Financial Institutions’ financing contributions

Our research covers loans and underwriting services that are provided by a syndicate, i.e. a group of banks together. In cases where the bank contribution for each deal is reported by our data providers, we attribute credit to each bank based on the known contributions of each bank to the deal. If the percentage of fees earned by each bank is reported, that percentage is imputed to represent the percentage of their participation. Otherwise, the value of the deal is divided among all known participants, with a greater share allocated to the banks in leading roles (bookrunners). These calculations are based on a differentiated method developed by the research institute Profundo. We exclude roles that do not involve financial contributions.

Our research does not take into account bilateral financing, i.e. a company borrows money from only one bank.



We applied adjusters to the financial data in order to reflect how much of a company's business model is coal-related – and thus how much of a bank's financing of a company goes into coal. Adjusters are based on companies' coal share of revenue as recorded in the GCEL. Where no revenue information was available, we applied the coal share of power production (for utilities), the parent company's coal share of revenue, or a hand-checked estimate as adjusters.


Our financial research builds on the “BOCC+ 2024” dataset researched by the Banking on Climate Chaos Coalition (including Rainforest Action Network, Indigeneous Environmental Network, BankTrack, CEED, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, Sierra Club, and Urgewald). The financial dataset was compiled in collaboration with Profundo, a not-for-profit research institute based in the Netherlands. Financial data was collected using the financial databases Bloomberg and Refinitiv. Note that these databases only contain data on syndicated financing. Our research does not take into account bilateral financing.

Industry data is based on urgewalds Global Coal Exit List 2023. GCEL is researched based on publicly available information. Relevant coal-related data is mainly extracted from the companies' own reporting, such as company websites, annual reports, financial reports, credit rating reports, investor presentations, and stock exchange filings. In some countries, we also draw on government-owned regional or national websites. In China, bidding websites with reliable information about companies, university websites, and recruitment websites are used as additional sources.

Further Remarks

The regional distribution is based on the “Standard country or area codes for statistical use (M49)” list issued by UN Statistics Division with some minor amendments. The African continent is further broken down based on the regional definition of the African Union.

Australia's mining giant BHP Group Ltd has now a Paris-aligned exit plan for thermal coal. BHP does therefore not appear in this research. Note that BHP remains included in other fossil fuel finance research projects (such as Banking on Climate Chaos) as they are still expanding their metallurgical coal business. Environmental and human rights groups also blame BHP for the handling of their copper and uranium mining operations.

We removed Power Finance Corp Ltd from the research scope due to their recent cancellation of the planned Ultra Mega Power Projects. Due to this, they do not meet the GCEL inclusion criteria anymore.

We rigorously error-check our data before publication. Still: our data can only be as good as the data from the underlying (commercial) databases. Considering the size and complexity of our research, we might not have caught every single error. Should you notice inconsistencies or if something looks off to you, please reach out to us at financeresearch [at] (financeresearch[at]urgewald[dot]org). Thank you!

Fossil Finance Datasets Overview

Our Still Banking on Coal dataset is complemented by other financial research projects, most notably the Banking On Climate Chaos report and Urgewald's research project Investing in Climate Chaos. Key differences between these datasets are highlighted below:

Still Banking on Coal Banking on Climate Chaos Investing in Climate Chaos

Scope of data

What financial institutions are covered?
Commercial banks worldwide Top 60 commercial banks globally Institutional investors worldwide (incl. pension funds)
What companies are covered?
Coal companies as defined by the Global Coal Exit List 2023 Fossil fuel companies as defined by the Global Coal Exit List 2023 plus Global Oil & Gas Exit List 2023, as well as further companies involved in fossil fuels identified by Bloomberg Industry Classification Standard, metallurgical coal producers In the upcoming update: fossil fuel companies as defined by the Global Coal Exit List 2023 and the Global Oil & Gas Exit List 2023
Types of financing researched
Lending and underwriting of share and bond issuances Lending and underwriting of share and bond issuances Bondholding and shareholding
Time period covered
2021-2023 plus trends since 2016 2016-2023, focus on 2023 In the upcoming update: snapshot of March/April 2024
Are adjusters used?
Transactions are adjusted for the share of coal business in the companies' overall business Transactions are adjusted for the share of fossil fuel business in the companies' overall business No adjusters are used

How is data aggregated?

For financial institutions
Aggregation of financing by subsidiaries at parent bank level Aggregation of financing by subsidiaries at parent bank level Aggregation of investments at investor parent level
For companies
Aggregation of financing at parent company level, subsidiary to parent mapping bsed on GCEL Aggregation of financing at parent company level, subsidiary to parent mapping based on Bloomberg Aggregation of investments at parent company level based on GCEL / GOGEL