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Yesterday, just two days before its Annual General Meeting, Natixis made new commitments on coal and shale oil & gas. Reclaim Finance welcomes the steps on coal but deplores the lack of ambition with oil & gas. If the bank gets out of coal, the measures announced on shale oil & gas suggest a withdrawal from the riskiest activities but the continuous support for the more profitable ones.
Natixis goes much further than BNP Paribas and Société Générale, who will be holding their Annual General Meeting today;
Whereas Natixis had already firmly excluded all companies with more than 25% exposure to coal, a firm criterion that the first two lack, Natixis is now making a commitment to exit from the coal sector, which includes both the mining and power generation sectors, which BNP Paribas does not do, and which covers all financial services in its corporate and investment arm, which Société Générale does not do;
Natixis is therefore clearly showing the way forward for these two banking groups;
We regret, however, that Natixis does not commit to requiring the remaining portfolio companies to adopt by 2021 a detailed plan for the closure of their coal assets.
On shale oil & gas:
While it remains to be seen how companies' exposure to the sector will be calculated, it is already certain that the measures announced by Natixis will not be sufficient to record its exit from the sector, as the bank claims in the title of its press release;
The bank will stop financing shale gas and oil exploration and production projects but will continue to finance transport infrastructure, including liquefied shale gas export terminals. Natixis has already financed 5 LNG terminals since COP21. These terminals are key to the US strategy to increase shale gas production;
As regards corporate financial services, only corporate and investment banking seems to be covered. Asset management subsidiaries are not. Although Natixis is the 4th French group to finance the most shale gas and oil, it is by far the leading French investor, with USD 4.4 billion in investments held in the 75 companies that forecast the highest production in the sector between now and 2050;
Only the exclusion of all projects along the entire value chain and the companies that develop them will really make it possible to avoid the climate bomb that is about to explode in the American shale oil and gas basins.