Greenpeace has released a report showing that the big Australian banks provided loans worth $5.5 billion to the coal industry over the past five years – seven times more than the $784 million lent to the renewable energy sector.

ANZ was recently ranked "the world’s most sustainable bank" but it was the biggest financier to Australia’s coal industry and also provided more finance for coal-fired power stations than any other Australian bank. It was followed by the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac and Suncorp.

The report was produced by the Dutch economic consultancy Profundo. A Profundo analyst, Jan Willem van Gelder, said that banks around the world were struggling to develop responsible lending policies, given climate change and the need to finance a shift to more sustainable energy production.

However, Greenpeace commented that the Australian banks’ record on sustainability was a "triumph of spin over substance".