Environmental groups and individuals have filed a lawsuit against Italian oil giant Eni over its contribution to climate change.

Greenpeace and ReCommon and twelve Italian citizens from affected areas have filed the lawsuit.

In a statement, Greenpeace alleged that Eni was aware of the impact of its operations on climate but chose to ignore it for decades.

The lawsuit also names the Ministry of Economy and Finance and state-backed bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti as two main shareholders of Eni.

This will be the country’s first climate lawsuit.

Greenpeace Italy Head of the Climate Unit Chiara Campione said: “ENI scored record profits in 2022, yet it continues to invest in expanding its fossil fuels business, dismissing climate impacts and ignoring local communities in Italy and around the world who are suffering the consequences of the climate emergency.

“The confirmation of [Eni CEO] Claudio Descalzi at the top of the company by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, endorsed by Italy’s government, makes Italian authorities complicit in choices that exacerbate the climate crisis.”

The plaintiffs claim that Eni’s policies are a clear breach of the Paris Agreement, which the Italian government signed.

They demand ENI to modify its industrial plan to decrease emissions by at least 45% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.

Furthermore, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, which is an influential shareholder of ENI, should establish a strong climate policy for its participation in the company that aligns with the Paris Agreement.

Speaking to Reuters, an Eni representative said the firm would “prove in court the groundlessness of the lawsuit” and the validity of its “transformation and decarbonisation strategy”.