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Dutch banks score below the mark on climate policies

By Milieudefensie | Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Jun 17 2006
The climate policies of the big Dutch banks are insufficient and lag behind those of big international banks such as the Bank of America and Citigroup. These conclusions are the result of the first major report to compare the nature of Dutch bank investments : ‘Investing in Climate Change: the Role of Dutch Banks and the Climate Performance Index. Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) today presented these results during the annual meeting of the branch organisation for Dutch banks, NVB and called on all Dutch banks to improve their climate policies.

Many international banks recognise the role they play in causing climate change. They accept their responsibility by investing billions in the solution. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are a criteria for approving investments and loans at the Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup. The Bank of America has a seven percent reduction target for the CO2 emissions of its investments in the energy sector.

The research for ‘Investing in Climate Change: the Role of Dutch Banks’, was conducted by Dutch Sustainability Research. The report and the Friends of the Earth Netherlands’ Climate Performance Index clearly show that Dutch banks are failing in the area of climate policies. They lack concrete targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their investments. The passive approach of Dutch banks is in sharp contrast with the biggest international banks. Dutch banks have developed a few climate products, but leave it completely up to their customers to decide to buy these products. Only three percent of the investments of the big Dutch banks can be called sustainable.

The four largest Dutch banks have over 2,700 billion euro to spend on investments and loans. They use this capital to finance three times the annual carbon dioxide emissions of the entire Netherlands. “We call on the Dutch banks to recognise that they can play a bigger role in tackling climate change ”says Friends of the Earth Netherlands’ Donald Pols. “Major banks show that good climate polices and profits can be compatible. Dutch banks should map out the climate impact of their investments and draft policies to reduce these. In addition they should offer their customers products to help them reduce energy use and stimulate renewable energy.”

The publication of the report and the Climate Performance Index mark the start of Friends of the Earth’s campaign, “Save the climate, banks!”. This campaign is part of the HIER climate coalition which involves more than 40 organisations.

Friends of the Earth Netherlands Press Office, +31 (0)20 5507 333

Milieudefensie Website


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