The World Coal Association, the trade body for the coal industry, has changed its name in a bid to revamp the image of the dirtiest fossil fuel and attract new members.
At a press conference in Delhi, the association’s chief executive Michelle Manook said the rebrand – to “FutureCoal – The Global Alliance for Sustainable Coal” – was a response to calls from industry stakeholders to modernise and bring in new members from across the full coal value chain.
The body is pushing for an “inclusive” international policy framework that supports the rights of coal producing and consuming countries as pressure intensifies to phase out the fossil fuel, which is the single biggest contributor to man-made climate change.
In statement, Manook said: “For too long our global coal value chain has allowed anti-coal sentiment to dominate and fragment us, which has resulted in a lowering of the global coal IQ.”
Clarifying the meaning of “coal IQ”, FutureCoal said it referred to the level of understanding of coal’s contribution to society in sectors beyond power, such as steel, fertilisers, critical minerals and hydrogen, and that abatement technologies can reduce pollution from burning coal.
For too long our global coal value chain has allowed anti-coal sentiment to dominate and fragment us, which has resulted in a lowering of the global coal IQ.
Michelle Manook, CEO, FutureCoal
The industry body said that negative sentiment surrounding coal had “diminished the capacity and progress” of vulnerable developing nations.
“FutureCoal may seem bold to some but for many it is simply representative of the reality we are confronted with,” said Manhook, adding that the contribution of coal to modern society “should neither be dismissed nor disregarded.”
Positioning coal as “sustainable” has been a common feature of communications to promote coal projects in key producer countries. In June, Indonesia’s largest coal miner, Adaro, was criticised for greenwashing for promoting a planned coal-powered aluminium smelter as a green, renewable development. Indonesia’s sustainable finance taxonomy is also facing scrutiny for proposing to categorise coal plants that power sustainable industries as green.
The industry association’s rebrand, which was devised by Mumbai-based brand consultancy Chlorophyll, comes just over a week ahead of the COP28 climate talks. The European Union is pushing for a phaseout of all fossil fuels at COP28. At the COP26 talks in Glasgow in 2021, key coal producers China and India blocked an agreement to phase out coal.
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