Dear Friends,

Danielle Ecuyer is an former Investment Banker.  Danielle lives in the key electorate of Wentworth - which also happens to be Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate.  Her passion for the environment led her to start Women For Change Alliance (WFCA) in 2006. Her aim is to make WFCA an organisation that succeeds in creating real awareness and behavioural difference on Climate Change and sustainability. As a former investment banker Danielle is combining her financial skills to see sustainable investment criteria embedded in Financial Institutions.

Danielle has for sometime been lobbying major Gunns shareholder Perpetual Investments to review its Gunns shareholding and to exert its influence on Gunns as its largest shareholder to transform Gunns business model to a more sustainable one.

Now Danielle has now joined forces with Tamar Valley residents to launch a joint campaign aimed at ANZ’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Smith, requesting ANZ not to fund Gunn’s proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill.

Danielle will be visiting the Tamar Valley from 7 - 11th October.  She will be speaking at the Low Head action on October 7, at the TAP meeting on Thursday 11th and will be taking a Tassie forest tour with forester Frank Strie.  Danielle will also be meeting with local residents and business operators during her visit.  We want to send Danielle back to the electorate of Wentworth with a renewed passion and understanding for our fight to stop this poluting mill.

The campaign kicks off with a letter to Mike Smith (ANZ CEO). See:below (or at http://www.wfca.org.au/letters.html)

The aim of this joint campaign is to collect as many signatures to this letter as possible from all over Australia, sending a clear message to ANZ that should they should not assist in financing this mill. Many existing ANZ customers as well as potential customers may have good reason to reconsider their banking arrangements.

Please read the letter and if you wish to add your name (and the names of as many friends and family who have read the letter and consented) email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ,confirming you are a signatory with name/names, town (eg Joe Smith, Tamar Valley Resident) and if you are an ANZ customer you may wish to include this.

It is as simple as that. 

Your name will be uploaded onto an E-Letter alongside the names of other concerned Australians. The list of signatories will be updated regularly and can be found on the WFCA website (http://www.wfca.org.au/letters.html - Letter to Mr Mike Smith)

There are now several campaigns aimed at Gunns shareholders/financiers and this represents the new front in Australia’s battle to stop this unsustainable pulp mill. This campaign will be a significant and sustained action much in the way that the Rainforest Action Network campaigned in 2000 against Citigroup to stop funding fossil fuel and logging companies.

Remember it is as simple as getting people to read the letter, consenting to put their names to the campaign, then emailing Danielle at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  I suggest you forward this email on to your email contact list with a personal note from you encouraging them to sign up

There will be a link to this ANZ Campaign Letter and a signature sheet on the TAP website should you wish to download a copy and gather names in this way. 

Lets get cracking!

Rick Pilkington
Tamar Valley Resident




Letter

(as it appears on WFCA website)




Mr. Mike Smith
Chief Executive Officer
ANZ Bank Limited
100 Queen Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000

Dear Mr. Smith,

Congratulations on your appointment as CEO of ANZ Bank.

We are writing to express our concern that ANZ, as the banker to Gunns Ltd, may consider raising finance for the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania. It is our contention that the proposed pulp mill, as it now stands, fails to meet the admirable standards and principles set by the ANZ.

Here are the reasons why we consider the proposed plant to be too high risk for ANZ. The potential costs of the mill well exceed any possible future financial benefits-

1. Potential Breach of the Equator Principles: In your capacity at HSBC you commented ‘No company can succeed in a failed world-it’s in the interests of all companies to ensure that wealth creation is sustainable’; and ‘We (HSBC) have also developed guidelines for investing and lending to certain business sectors to ensure we operate to international social and environmental standards and follow our commitment to the Equator Principles.’

Your historical commitment to the Principles and the fact that ANZ became a signatory in April 2007, means that the potential funding of the proposed pulp mill would place ANZ in breach of its commitment to best practice lending standards.

2. Reputational Risks: ANZ’s reputation is severely at risk. Perceived lack of adherence to the Principles and the abandonment of Tasmanian’s statutory planning and assessment process, in favour of a political fast tracking approval process has triggered widespread community disapproval. This has consistently been reflected in the opinion polls.

The general lack of transparency, infamy and ever increasing catalogue of controversies surrounding this project have been widespread. It is likely to become a project of community ill-will, legal challenges and arguments about breaches of permit conditions for decades to come. Many Tasmanian citizens and otherwise moderate public figures are calling for a Royal Commission.

Does ANZ really want to be involved in such a controversial and maligned investment? Implication by association can affect investor perceptions and share price performance.

3. Financial Risks: The Tasmanian Roundtable for Sustainable Industries Project (Major contributor-Associate Professor Graeme Wells from UTAS) is the first cost benefit analysis conducted on the proposed mill (the report conducted by the Tasmanian Government, resulting in state project approval was a ‘Benefits’ only study). The Roundtable concluded that ‘if you add up the risks to health and other industries plus the costs and subsidies the total cost could be $3.3 billion to the Tasmanian economy’. The opportunity costs of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax payer subsidies underpinning this project, such as secret deals on access to tax payer owned native forest, has yet to be considered in any detailed analysis. Poor public perception and national attention is set to change these subsidies, posing a clear risk to the future profitability to the proposed mill.

In the context of recent pulp mill closures in Canada (where some mills are only 15 years old), the report also analyses the vulnerability of the mill to exchange rate, costs and commodity prices and competition from Asia and South America, particularly in the absence of favourable subsidies and low stumpage feedstock prices.

Surely ANZ, as the proposed major lender would be extremely concerned by the financial risks of a project of this size and the risks it poses to it’s loan book, bad debts and profits. The $2 billion investment is about the same as Gunn’s current market capitalisation.

4. Carbon Risks: Conservative estimates show the proposed mill will generate 10 million tonnes of CO2 per annum. The application of a cost of carbon places this mill at great risk of decreasing profits as the costs of carbon are internalised. At a conservative $20 cost on carbon, the mill’s EBITDA could be wiped out by the $200m cost of carbon.

Contrary to Gunns’ claims, we believe the use of wet native forest for pulp production is a net CO2 emitter. The forests alone are estimated to hold 400 million tonnes of carbon and there is strong argument to support that native forests will be more valuable as carbon offsets than pulp feedstock.

5. Litigation Risks: The proposed mill’s effluent and emissions, such as foul odours and chlorophenols in the Tamar valley have been strongly questioned . The mill is at risk of litigation due to the pollution impacts and from major odour emissions during plant shutdowns.

In summary, the proposed pulp mill is an extremely high risk project on all counts. The mill’s economic model is not sustainable once the risks and costs are factored into potential outcomes, and hence does not offer any clear net financial benefits to the economy or residents of Tasmania. In fact it greatly risks (even through perception) the existence of other flourishing, ‘cleaner and greener’ industries such as wine and tourism.

Deforestation generates around 20% of global CO2 emissions each year. How can ANZ as a signatory to The Equator Principles justify lending to such an unsustainable project?

Mr. Smith, as concerned Australian citizens, Tasmanian residents and ANZ customers we strongly urge you not to assist in financing this mill. Many ANZ customers could have good reason to reconsider their banking arrangements, if ANZ finances the proposed mill.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Your Sincerely,


Danielle Ecuyer - President WFCA Sydney Resident and ANZ Customer


Robert McMahon - TAP Spokesperson


Peter Whish-Wilson - Resident and small business owner Tamar valley


Rick and Anna Pilkington - Local Resident Tamar Valley

 

 

Rick Pilkington

The aim of this joint campaign is to collect as many signatures to this letter as possible from all over Australia, sending a clear message to ANZ that should they should not assist in financing this mill. Many existing ANZ customers as well as potential customers may have good reason to reconsider their banking arrangements.