Efforts that are still insufficient
As a British NGO working to integrate environmental and social issues into public investment policies, ShareAction published on Monday 12 December, “In Debt to the Planet,” which took a year and a half to develop. In 112 pages, it assesses the climate and biodiversity strategies of 25 major European banks, including those in the UK. The report concludes that, “European banks are not doing enough for climate and biodiversity.” It allocates ratings according to the percentage of actions deemed necessary by each bank to achieve the transition, in line with public policies.
On biodiversity, the BNP Paribas Agriculture policy and its zero deforestation commitments between now and 2025 on beef and soybean-producing companies are cited in particular as examples to follow. The report also highlights the inclusion of biodiversity throughout the Bank’s risk assessment chain, including customer contact, review of existing customers and due diligence of operations.
“Banks need to help the economy further accelerate its transition, and the ShareAction report shows that we still have a long way to go. The ranking also puts things in perspective, while the State of Texas prohibits its public entities from contracting with BNP Paribas because of its trajectory leading to the eventual exit of fossil fuels, conversely, some NGOs criticise the Group for not being sufficiently restrictive with these energies,” explains Antoine Sire, Head of Company Engagement, BNP Paribas. “The actions taken by banks are fundamentally in step with public policy. In May 2022, BNP Paribas announced a 25% decrease in its financing for oil exploration and production between now and 2025, thus setting an exit horizon consistent with the end of the new thermal vehicle market announced for 2035 in Europe.”