Singapore banks urged to curtail loans to haze-linked firms

SINGAPORE (AFP) – An umbrella group of local and foreign banks in smog-hit Singapore has urged members to make “sustainable development” part of their lending requirements, stepping up pressure on companies linked to land-clearing fires in Indonesia.

The 158-member Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) on Thursday issued guidelines for the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, forest degradation and biodiversity loss among the criteria for approving commercial loans.

The move came in the wake of fires illegally started to clear land for plantations on Sumatra island and the Indonesian part of Borneo, which have shrouded Singapore and Malaysia in acrid smoke since early September.

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