BNP Paribas resists banks’ 2020 trend in fossil fuel financing


While banks cut their overall funding to oil, gas and coal companies by nearly 9% last year, French lender BNP Paribas SA has increased its funding.

BNP Paribas, which has one of the most restrictive financing policies in the industry, provided $ 41.1 billion to fossil fuel companies through loans and debt and equity underwriting services in 2020, up 41% from the previous year, according to a report released on Wednesday. through Rainforest Action Network. The bank was the only one of the 10 largest fossil fuel financiers to increase its funding last year. Funding for Wells Fargo & Co. fell 42%.

“During the Covid-19 crisis, all sectors of the economy needed support and BNP Paribas, like other banks, played an important stabilizing role for the economy,” the Parisian company said in a statement sent by email. Its customers include BP Plc, Total SE and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, all of which are committed to reducing their dependence on fossil fuels and investing more in renewable energy activities.

BNP Paribas said its funding of the oil and gas sectors was lower than that of other industries. Its outstanding loans to oil and gas companies rose 4.1%, compared to 6.5% for all other industries. The bank’s financing of the oil and gas industry represented 1.9% of its total loans as of December 31.

Banks have offered more than $ 3.8 trillion in fossil fuel financing since the signing of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The market leader JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut its loans and underwriting services to the biggest corporate polluters by 20% last year, according to RAN, which used data from Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, in preparation for its report.

The slowdown in fossil fuel financing caused by the coronavirus pandemic offers banks a choice, said Ginger Cassady, executive director of RAN. They can either give up an industry that “is causing the climate crisis or recklessly resume business as usual as the economy recovers,” she said.

“Stepping into the Glasgow climate summit at the end of the year, the stakes couldn’t be higher,” Cassady said. “Wall Street must act now to stop funding the expansion of fossil fuels.”

Banks have taken action to combat climate change by limiting their exposure to energy projects that are most harmful to the environment, such as thermal coal mining. From Italy Unicredit SpA has the most restrictive policy of all banks, followed by BNP Paribas and Credit Mutuel SA, according to RAN, which wrote its report with other environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and BankTrack. From russia Sberbank PJSC ranks low, followed by Truist Financial Corp. in the United States and National Bank of India.

(Add details on the transition plans of European oil companies in the third paragraph.)

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