Announcement comes amid pressure from growing coalition of Indigenous groups and environmental organizations.
Paris, France–This morning BNP Paribas, one of the world’s largest banks, announced that it would no longer do business with companies whose primary business activity is connected with oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands. BNP also announced that it will not finance any projects in the Arctic region. The announcement was welcomed by Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Save RGV from LNG, and Friends of the Earth (FOE) France, who put pressure on the bank for its investments in extreme fossil fuel projects, which put the bank out of compliance with ambitions to keep global warming below 2°C by the end of the century.
“BNP Paribas’s new commitment represents a significant step forward in recognition of the devastating Indigenous rights and climate impacts that result from bankrolling oil and gas from shale and oil from tar sands,” says Jason Disterhoft, Senior Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network. “Moving forward, banks must stop their business-as-usual funding for extreme fossil fuels. Whether or not they continue to finance dirty energy will be a key test of their seriousness on climate change and human rights.”
RAN, FOE France, and Save RGV from LNG issued a report earlier this year entitled “BNP Paribas vs. Communities and Climate,” and coordinated an Indigenous delegation that traveled from Texas to take their message directly to BNP Paribas in France.
“We traveled from Texas to France to tell the big banks directly that Texas LNG would destroy our sacred indigenous sites, spew pollution into our communities, and scar our pristine gulf coast,” says Rebekah Hinojosa, of Save RGV from LNG. “This is a huge victory for the indigenous and people of color communities in Texas that have been resisting the fossil fuel industry. The fight is not over, French bank, Societe Generale, should follow BNP Paribas and no longer finance the Rio Grande LNG terminal proposed for our region.”
BNP Paribas now states its commitment to bringing its financing and investment activities in line with the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global warming below 2°C by the end of the century. Under the new policy, the bank will not support new exploration, production, transportation and export projects related to tar sands, shale gas, and oil projects in the Arctic, nor the companies involved above 30% of their turnover.
BNP Paribas will therefore not finance TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, Enbridge’s Line 3, nor any other tar sands pipeline projects in North America. BNP Paribas will also not finance Texas LNG or any other LNG export terminal or gas pipeline in North America, as more than 60% of production comes from hydraulic fracturing. BNP Paribas will no longer provide financial support and services to companies exposed to more than 30% of oil sands and shale gas (exposure is calculated from reserves for companies involved in exploration and production, and from turnover for other companies).
Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas, says: “We’re a long-standing partner to the energy sector and we’re determined to support the transition to a more sustainable world. As an international bank, our role is to help drive the energy transition and contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy. As we have announced, we’re committed to working with and supporting those energy sector partners who have decided to make environmental issues a central part of their business policy.”