Oxfam France, Friends of the Earth France, and Notre Affaire à Tous have taken legal action against BNP Paribas for continuing to finance “the most aggressive companies” responsible for developing new oil and gas fields.
The French banking giant has three months to comply with the 2017 French duty of vigilance law, which stipulates that BNP must provide a robust plan to “identify, mitigate, and prevent environmental and human rights risks arising from its activities.”
Despite “repeated calls” to stop new fossil fuel investments, investors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) said that the French bank continues to be a major financer of new fossil fuel projects. In 2020, BNP’s carbon footprint was larger than that of the French territory, Oxfam America revealed.
BNP Paribas has three months to comply with the law. Should it fail to comply, the NGOs will take it to court.
“Each new fossil fuel project financed by BNP Paribas means more droughts, floods, forest fires, and also higher energy prices for people,” said Alexandre Poidatz, advocacy officer at Oxfam France, in a press release. “We need to make sure that today’s investments shape a better world tomorrow”.
This legal action would be the first climate litigation in the world to hold a commercial bank to account for its legal obligations and to demand an immediate halt to its financial support for new oil and gas projects.