French finance is ahead in phasing out fossil fuels but far from being exemplary, according to Reclaim Finance

French banks, insurers and investors have reduced their support for oil and gas companies, but their policies in this area are still insufficient, the NGO Reclaim Finance pointed out in a press release on Tuesday. The association which fights to reduce the carbon footprint of finance has evaluated the policies of the 150 largest financial players in the world (60 banks, 30 insurers and 60 investors) according to several criteria including the cessation of direct financing of new gas and oil projects and the exclusion of companies with projects of this type from their portfolio. She compiled her criteria in an online tool called “Monitoring oil and gas policies“.

The tool ranks French financial institutions among the most advanced in disengaging from fossil fuels: La Banque Postale in particular, which had promised in mid-October to phase out all fossil fuels by 2030, has the best scores, all combined criteria. “It is the only bank and financial institution that has a robust policyExit from fossil fuels, points out to AFP Clément Faul, analyst at Reclaim Finance. On the direct financing of new fossil fuel projects, Crédit Mutuel obtains the second best score (8/10), after having announced in October the stopof any financing of new oil and gas exploration, production and infrastructure projects“. Crédit Agricole and Axa are also in the Top 15 for this criterion, but only obtain a score of 4/10 because their policies do not take into account the entire fossil fuel production chain, according to the association. “The French financial center is one of the best students… in a class of dunces“, argues Louis-Maxence Delaporte, oil and gas campaign manager, quoted in the press release.

Indeed, only five financial institutions out of the 150 assessed (La Banque Postale, Crédit Mutuel, Commerzbank, Lloyds Banking Group and Natwest) restrict their support to companies developing new projects, the others just limiting the direct financing of projects, notes Reclaim Finance . While 74 of the players studied are committed to a carbon neutrality trajectory, 20 of them have not adopted “no policyLimit their support to oil and gas. However, the association believes that it is “THE climate priority“, the International Energy Agency having estimated in May 2021 that exploration projects should be abandoned now to limit global warming to 1.5°C. After this first publication of theMonitoring oil and gas policies“, Reclaim Finance then plans to include”200 additional international financial institutions“.

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