Paris, March 3, 2022
In solidarity with Ukraine, a coalition of NGOs and groups around the world calls on the financial institutions most exposed to the gas, oil and coal companies operating in Russia to no longer grant them new financial services, in order to dissociate full of Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine.
More than 75 organizations, including Reclaim Finance, BankTrack, Stand.earth, Greenpeace, Sierra Club and Rainforest Action Network, write to the global banks, insurers and asset managers most active in the Russian fossil fuel sector, including JP Morgan Chase , Intesa, Crédit Agricole, Citi, Vanguard, Chubb, Lloyd’s of London and Munich Re. The NGOs are asking them to commit to not providing new financing, investments, insurance coverage and other financial services to the companies that constitute the heart of the Russian coal, oil and gas industry, and to divest from existing assets.
This is the start of a campaign that will target up to 100 financial institutions most exposed to Russian fossil fuels, dubbed “Putin’s 100”.
The letter sent by the NGOs quotes Desmond Tutu as saying that choosing neutrality in the face of injustice is like choosing the side of the oppressor. “You would be guilty of crossing that line by maintaining your support for companies that directly help fuel Russia’s war in Ukraine,” the signatories say.
The export of coal, oil and gas funds Putin’s autocratic regime and his illegal war against Ukraine. Financial players should immediately stop supporting the production of these fossil fuels. Oil and gas sales accounted for 36% of Russia’s budget last year and enabled Putin to accumulate $470 billion in foreign reserves. According to Morningstar, 14% of ESG investment funds have exposure to Russia.
As Svitlana Krakovska, a Ukrainian climatologist and co-author of the IPCC report, said: “Man-made climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots – fossil fuels – and our dependence on them. ”
The list of Russian companies to exclude includes more than 60 major oil, gas and coal companies which have their headquarters or are active in Russia. The letter also asks financial institutions to suspend all support for TotalEnergies, Fortum/Uniper, Wintershall DEA and other non-Russian companies active in fossil fuels in Russia.
Svitlana Romanko, a climate activist and strategist based in Ukraine, says: “Although there is a horrible war going on in Ukraine, financial institutions and fossil fuel companies are actively financing Russian oil, gas and coal and thus fueling Putin’s war machine. We call on governments, Western companies and financial institutions to divest, end all trade and impose an embargo on all fossil fuels from Russia. We call for justice and peace. The world’s addiction to oil, gas and coal continues to create conflict around the world. We call to overcome this. We don’t want any more wars. Their expansion around the world must be stopped immediately. Nations around the world must commit to a quick and just transition to abandoning all fossil fuels and non-proliferating fossil fuels. Companies are greenwashing by brandishing the defense of peace as an argument to continue the extensive exploration of fossil fuels.”
Peter Bosshard, Campaign Coordinator Securing our futuredeclares: “International banks, investors and insurance companies – Putin’s 100 – have financed the Russian petrostate for many years. At a time when even the oil majors have written off billions of dollars of Russian assets overnight, the financial sector is absent. These financiers must immediately cease all support for oil, gas and coal companies.”
Lucie Pinson, Executive Director of Reclaim Finance, says: “It is horrifying to discover that even in times of war, many financial institutions try to cut corners and condemn Putin’s war while protecting the vested interests of the oil and gas industry. We are not only calling for the Russian fossil fuel industry to be put on notice. Financial institutions must also suspend their relations with those who refuse to leave Russia. All eyes are on Crédit Agricole, the leading banker and second largest shareholder in the French oil and gas major, which is clinging to its 4 Russian projects while Shell, BP and even ExxonMobil have announced their withdrawal”.