By: Les Amis de la Terre
Les Amis de la Terre / Friends of the Earth France
Tel : 0033 1 48 51 18 92 / 0033 6 68 98 83 41
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Sébastien Godinot, responsible for the Finance campaign at Les Amis de la Terre, explains : «From the beginning of the climate campaign, banks have developed lending products to encourage retail clients to renovate and insulate housing, the second largest greenhouse gas emitting sector in France. The campaign has been a success, and the banks show how quickly they can react. While today the evidence of the seriousness of climate change is mounting (Stern Report, GIEC, etc.), banks must now go into top gear and pitch in to confront their indirect emissions, produced by the projects and companies they finance. It is time for French banks to have their climate and energy revolution. »
Indeed, the report's results are negative: none of the banks reach even an average grade. Crédit Coopératif and Dexia get an acceptable note, followed by Groupe Banque Populaire. All the others banks are laggards. Société Générale and Crédit Mutuel seem even bored with environmental aspects.
French banks are financing polluting fossil fuel projects ten times more than renewable energies. They all brag about sustainable development, though they are still financing contentious energy projects like the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea (Banque Populaire, BNP-Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Dexia, Société Générale). While industries are now subjected to emissions quota, banks take advantage of the lack of restriction in their financing choices to rake in astronomical profits.
Citizens, as majors economic actors are called to take action toward better banking practices : « The guide «Environment : how do I choose my bank ?», published at the same time as the report, ranks the French banks according to their respect for the environment. Citizens don't know how their money is used when they commit to their bank, though they are aware how their choices can affect society. We will distribute the guide widely and ask customers-citizens either to push for their bank to improve or to switch to an ecologically better bank » explains Déborah Lambert-Perez from Les Amis de la Terre.
The two documents are in French. A summary in English is available on the BankTrack website.