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The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises demand that Dutch bank ING formulates concrete climate goals for its financial services, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, concludes the Dutch National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines in its final statement following a complaint lodged against ING in May 2017 by Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace NL, BankTrack and Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie).
Peter Ras, senior policy advisor at Oxfam Novib: “We are happy about this well-considered decision by the National Contact Point, making it clear that banks – in order to adhere to the OECD Guidelines – must formulate concrete climate goals for their financial services that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. This means that banks in the Netherlands and abroad will have to work hard on this. It’s also very good to see that for the first time the OECD Contact Point takes a clear position on climate goals.”
The four organisations that lodged this complaint welcome the fact that ING has agreed in 2018 to bring its portfolio in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and that ING is also prepared to publish interim goals for doing so. They urge ING to bring its lending portfolio in line with the goal of limiting average global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius as soon as possible. Remaining below 1.5 degrees will make all the difference to inhabitants of island nations and deltas such as Bangladesh, as to them this is literally the difference between continuing their lives in their homes or having to flee due to rising sea levels, according to the four NGOs.
Kees Kodde, campaigner at Greenpeace: “It is crucial that ING publishes its interim goals as soon as possible. The financial sector justifies loans to fossil fuel companies with scenarios of the International Energy Agency (IEA) that are overly reliant on unproven technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage. A better approach would be to completely phase out all financing of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. In this respect, ING is setting the right example with coal.”
Johan Frijns, director at BankTrack: “We appreciate that ING is prepared to finance the much-needed technology transition for a range of business sectors with a large impact on our climate. However, this approach does not offer a solution for the oil and gas industry, currently the main drivers of climate change, together with coal. ING must completely phase out its investments in oil and gas, which were worth 25.5 billion dollars between 2015 and 2018, just as it did with coal already.”
In May 2017, Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace, BankTrack and Friends of the Earth NL lodged a complaint against ING at the National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines, claiming that ING did not adhere to the OECD Guidelines with regards to its climate policy. In November 2017 the complaint was declared eligible by the National Contact Point of OECD. It was the first time that a climate-related complaint was declared eligible by an OECD Contact Point.
After the complaint was lodged, ING in December 2017 published its decision to almost completely phase out its investments in the coal industry by the year 2025 and refrain from investing in new coal-fired power stations. In September 2018, ING publicly announced that it will begin steering its lending portfolio towards meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius. In its final statement, the National Contact Point does not establish whether in 2017 ING was in violation of the OECD Guidelines.
NGOs and ING have agreed to jointly call upon the Dutch government to request the IEA to as soon as possible develop two scenarios, with and without relying on Carbon Capture and Storage, that provide a 66% chance of limiting average global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This follows a similar call on IEA made last month by a group of institutional investors. Having such new scenarios in place that aim for 1,5 degrees rather than 2 degrees maximum temperature rise will allow banks and other financial institutions to adjust their loans and investments accordingly.
For more information please contact:
Johan Frijns, director BankTrack, 31-6-12421667, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jules van Os, press officer at Oxfam Novib, 31-6-51573683, email@example.com
Bram Karst, press officer at Greenpeace Nederland, 31-6-21296895, firstname.lastname@example.org
ING’s comment on the final statement can be found here.