NAB and CommBank are funding deforestation



NAB and CommBank: National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) are two of Australia’s biggest banks.1 What they finance has the power to shape Australia, including the fate of many endangered animals.2

Deforestation: Deforestation from land clearing poses a catastrophic risk to Australia’s wildlife. According to the federal government’s threatened species committee, “land clearance has been the most significant threatening process in Australia since European settlement.”3

Endangered wildlife: Analysis of deforestation in Queensland found that between 2018-2020, over 1 million hectares of forest and woodland were bulldozed, mainly for cattle farming. Almost 200,000 hectares was habitat for the endangered koala. Greater gliders, northern quolls, ornamental snakes, and Australian painted snipes also saw tens of thousands of hectares of their forest homes destroyed.2

Financed deforestation: Banks fund the companies driving this destruction. Research shows that NAB has the most exposure to deforestation through its loans, with CommBank being the next most exposed of the Australian banks.2


Deforestation policies: There are Australian banks with deforestation policies, such as Westpac, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, and Bank Australia. There is nothing stopping banks such as NAB and CommBank adopting ‘no deforestation’ policies.4

Commitment to net zero: Deforestation contributes to climate change. As members of the United Nations Net Zero Banking Alliance, these banks need to consider the impact of deforestation on their commitments to stop funding climate change.5

Put them on notice: NAB and CommBank have their Annual General Meeting at the end of the year. Plans are still coming together. However, in the lead up, you can put NAB and CommBank on notice by pledging to buy or use shares.


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[1] Statista, Largest banks in Australia in financial year 2023, by assets, 2024, 

[2] Australian Conservation Foundation, Banking on nature destruction: An analysis of Australian bank financing of deforestation, June 2023, 

[3] Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Land clearance, 2021, 

[4] Australian Conservation Foundation, Risky business: How Australia’s banks and super funds are responding to the nature crisis, December 2022,

[5] United Nations, Integrity Matters: Net Zero commitments by Businesses, Financial Institutions, Cities and Regions, 2022, 

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