KfW banking group is Germany’s public bank which finances projects inside and outside the country. Through its subsidiaries KfW IPEX bank, DEG and KfW development bank it carries out international projects and is active in south east Europe and Turkey. It has been involved in a mixture of projects in southeast Europe, most controversially including the Kolubara mine improvement project with the EBRD. So far it has refused to stop financing coal, making it almost the only development bank operating in southeast Europe to continue doing so. A briefing by German NGO urgewald on KfW’s coal financing is available (PDF).
There is very little transparency about which projects KfW finances. Recently, the KfW development bank has finally started to publish since this year information about its projects, but other parts of the bank still do not publish this information.
KfW has some sustainability guidelines (PDF) which include the following requirements:
“For us, the minimum requirement is compliance with national law. To maintain appropriate environmental and social standards we orient ourselves on internationally recognised standards such as, for example, those of the EU, the World Bank Group (Safeguard Policies for public sector financing, IFC Performance Standards for private sector financing) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
“For financings KfW Bankengruppe ensures that the local population is informed and involved in the context of the approval procedure, in particular in order to also maintain the special rights of indigenous peoples. We do not support projects that are likely to cause unacceptable environmental or social harm.”
KfW continues to finance coal power plants, and has outlined its position and criteria for financing.
For assistance regarding KfW, try contacting urgewald, a German NGO which monitors this institution:
Head office, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany:
60325 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. 069 7431-0
Fax 069 7431-29 44
In spite of the EBRD deciding not to move forward with the project and the alleged corruption and unsatisfactory resettlement issues at Kolubara, Serbia’s electricity company EPS and Italy’s Edison are still claiming that the project is going on.