HEC, Ponts et Chaussées, AgroParisTech, Dauphine PSL… In an article published in The Obs1,240 students and recent graduates from major schools have announced that they will refuse to work for BNP Paribas” as long as the bank finances fossil fuel development “.
A “major” role in the financing of fossil fuels
“ We see that BNP Paribas is trying to exploit our fears and our beliefs and target our generation with its ‘greenwashing’. “, they write. ” After decades of financing a carbon-intensive world that has become unsustainable, banks have the power and responsibility to move us out of our dependence on fossil fuels by refocusing their financing on a just ecological transition. »
But this is not the case, they regret it. “ In the seven years since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, BNP Paribas has committed $165 billion to fossil fuels. Its role is significant: between 2016 and 2022 it was the leading European financier and the fourth global financier of fossil fuel development. »
“ Faced with young people determined to confront climate dangers, BNP Paribas is experiencing recruitment problems. The bank explains that it has changed and that it is committed to the climate and promises wonderful things “impact lanes”. But how are you supposed to believe her? “, ask these hundreds of students, who are happy with La Banque Postale’s decision not to ” only financing to companies that have a plan to phase out fossil fuels by 2040 and are no longer developing new projects in this area “.
Response from BNP Paribas
“ Our decision has been made, it is now up to the leaders of BNP Paribas to choose: embody the momentum we need or keep us on the highway to climate hell », they conclude.
In a column published later this Wednesday, the BNP responded by ensuring that they “ has already turned the page on fossil fuels “. Antoine Sire, director of corporate engagement at the French bank, says BNP Paribas “ has become a global leader in energy transition financing and is no longer just a fringe player in fossil fuel financing “.” The information presenting BNP Paribas as a major financier of fossil fuels is therefore not up to date. »
He denies that the bank has difficulty recruiting and points out that “ Young people who want to change the world can act “.” Financing the economy at a bank that has decided to change on a large scale is one of the levers. »
The sofa often stood out
According to the NGO Reclaim Finance, most major banks, including major French banks such as BNP Paribas, participated in forty bond issues that allowed thirteen oil groups to raise $45 billion between January and September 2023. Big banks and US, European and Asian investors continue to participate in financing new fossil fuel projects by taking advantage of an opaque bond market », underlines Reclaim Finance.
The NGO mainly attacks BNP Paribas, which has stopped financing new oil and gas fields, but does not fail to contribute to the expansion of existing activities and still supports the major oil companies.
Last February, three NGOs took the bank to court and asked the banking industry to stop all support for new oil and gas projects.