BNP Paribas, which “disagrees” with NGOs, responds

“We fully understand the political nature of your activity and fully respect both the associations you represent and their fight for the climate,” Antoine Sire, director of corporate relations at the Group’s Executive Committee, wrote in a January 24 letter. The bank had until Thursday to respond NGO before the latter, he must decide whether to issue a summons.

BNP Paribas believes that companies “cannot replace the legislator”. “The instructions given to us (…) are not intended to comply with the law on the duty of vigilance, they deviate significantly,” the person in charge believes. “We are confident that our vigilance plan not only meets legal requirements, but goes beyond every aspect outlined in your letter,” the bank insists.

At the end of October, three NGOs issued an official warning to the French banking giant, asking it to stop financing new oil and gas projects. Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and Notre Affaire à Tous accuse BNP Paribas of being “the first European funder and the fifth in the world. fossil fuelsBetween 2016 and 2021, $55 billion (about €50 billion, editor’s note) in funding for new mining projects.

Since 2017, a French law on the “duty of vigilance” requires large companies to take effective measures to prevent human rights and environmental violations along the chain of operations. By law, companies that receive formal notices have three months to comply and possibly engage in dialogue with NGOs before a possible challenge.

BNP Paribas accelerates the redistribution of finance towards a low-carbon economy by constantly improving its commitments, policies and tools dedicated to their implementation.

Please respond within “a few weeks”.

Questioned by AFP on Thursday, the NGO Oxfam said it needed time to study BNP Paribas’ letter before making a decision “within weeks” on a possible legal challenge to the bank. “All options are on the table,” said Alexandre Poidatz, the NGO’s manager of finance and climate protection, deeming it already “inadequate”. climate commitments announced by the bank at the beginning of the week.

The Bank of France, a historic financier of the industrial sector, announced new climate commitments on Tuesday in a bid to halve financing for oil production and the extractive sector. Its asset management subsidiary, BNP Paribas AM, was also questioned on the Cash Investigation television program on Thursday for being integrated into so-called “green” investment funds and targeting depositors such as Coca-Cola, a major plastic issuer. as well as energy company TotalEnergies.

In response to this investigation, the company admitted that plastic indicators were not sufficiently integrated and stated that the fund accused of being part of TotalEnergies no longer exists. In a letter sent to NGOs earlier on Thursday, Antoine Sire also confirmed that “BNP Paribas is accelerating the redistribution of financing towards a low-carbon economy by constantly improving its commitments, policies and tools dedicated to their implementation.”

The group notes that it has not directly financed new oil projects since 2016. However, its support for companies that continue to develop new fields is considered partly exploration and production. In response to the NGO’s call for a complete freeze on funding of any company developing new fossil fuel projects, BNP Paribas believes that this would “equivalent to an immediate halt to all forms of funding in the sector, especially for companies that play a key role in Europe’s energy supply”. .

with AFP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *