This morning, French bank BNP Paribas has strengthened its oil and gas policy for the second time in three months following engagement from ShareAction and investors.
New commitments from the bank include financing restrictions that will impact its upstream oil client base and a commitment to no longer directly finance new oil and gas fields.
BNP Paribas’ move follows investor letters sent by ShareAction in February to five major European financiers of top companies with oil and gas expansion plans. The letters urged the banks to stop directly financing new oil and gas fields and take action against the companies behind these fields.
Kelly Shields, Project and Campaign Manager at ShareAction, said: “Following months of engagement with investors and ShareAction, BNP Paribas has improved its oil and gas policy at least in part. Its new commitments are welcome and suggest that banks’ financing appetite for new oil and gas is rapidly drying up. That said, BNP Paribas still has a way to go before meeting the climate standards expected of them by investors and the public. In particular, the bank’s corporate financing restrictions do not cover a large portion of its client base, leaving the door open to indirectly financing new oil and gas activities.
“Now Societe Generale, Crédit Agricole, Barclays and Deutsche Bank are firmly in spotlight as the remaining top financiers of oil & gas expansion in Europe that have still to make a commitment to cease financing for new oil and gas fields. Investors will continue to hold these banks’ feet to the fire to ensure they enact policies that align with a 1.5C pathway and protect people and planet for future generations”.
BNP Paribas becomes the world’s second largest bank to have excluded financing for new oil & gas fields after HSBC, and now meets the minimum standard set by 11 out of the top 25 European banks. BNP Paribas, which was Europe’s largest fossil fuel financier last year, has also committed to phase out from non-diversified oil companies and closed a key loophole in its restrictions on companies active in unconventional oil and gas.
However, the bank’s plan to restrict financing at the corporate level only applies to a segment of its oil client base and does not apply to gas. In addition, whilst BNP Paribas has expanded its assessment of transition plans to cover all oil and gas clients, it has failed to set a deadline for clients to comply, neither has it included expansion in its list of assessment criteria.
ShareAction will continue to campaign hard for BNP Paribas and other European banks to close the gaps in their climate policies to fully align with the Paris Climate Accord and safeguard the future of our planet and its people.
Notes to editors
- A copy of each letter sent in February can be found here: Barclays, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale.
- The letter to BNP Paribas was sent by 25 investors with US $1.4 trillion in assets under management.
- According to the latest Banking on Climate Chaos report, BNP Paribas was one of a minority of banks globally to increase its fossil fuel financing from 2021 to 2022 and did so by an additional US $3.561 billion.
- For more than 15 years, ShareAction, the responsible investment NGO, has been working to shape a world where the financial system serves our planet and its people. Through research, campaigns and advocacy we mobilise global investors to drive up labour standards, tackle climate change, protect the natural world, and improve people’s health. We push policymakers to ensure the financial system is working in the best interests of people and planet. Visit shareaction.org or follow us @ShareAction to find out more.