France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, has announced that it will cease financial support for all new oil and gas developments. This will come “regardless of the financing methods.”
It comes after the firm’s January announcement of its intention to cut oil exploration financing by 80% by 2030. Furthermore, it also plans to end all funding for non-diversified oil companies.
In a statement, BNP Paribas said: “At year-end 2022, low-carbon energies accounted for nearly 60% of BNP Paribas’ total financing of the energy sector. As announced on 24 January 2023, BNP Paribas aims to further shift its energy-based financing to 80% for low-carbon energies, representing at least €40 billion. In-line with this commitment, BNP Paribas has decided to significantly reduce its support of the oil and gas exploration and production industry.”
In February ShareAction, a charity composed of shareholders advocating for responsible investment, wrote letters to BNP and four other banks to persuade them to move away from fossil fuels.
Jeanne Martin, head of the banking programme at Share Action, has demanded more, stating: “Banks must urgently turn their attention to the companies that are enabling new oil and gas fields from being discovered and developed. As the letters point out, direct financing is only the tip of the iceberg.”
In late 2022, HSBC similarly announced that it was to stop financing new oil and gas fields. It indicates a change in the focus of top banks away from funding fossil industries. The $1.5 trillion coalition of investors, including Candriam and Brunel Pension Partnership, identified that new oil and gas field funding accounts for only 8% of total financing for oil and gas firms. As such, the coalition stated that banks such as BNP must target the companies themselves.
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