La Banque Postale Unveils Plan to Exit Oil and Gas by 2030
(Bloomberg) -- La Banque Postale said it plans to completely exit the oil and gas industries by 2030, becoming the first bank to make such a pledge.
The French lender said Thursday it will no longer provide financial services to oil and gas companies, invest in companies active in the sector and finance any related projects. The commitment covers conventional and non-conventional fossil-fuels producers, upstream and midstream activities, as well as companies involved in infrastructure development for the industry. La Banque Postale also will stop supporting businesses involved in lobbying for the oil and gas industry.
The banking subsidiary of France’s mail operator La Poste aims “to drive an in-depth transformation of [its] business models towards a just transition, of which respect for the planet’s limits is a key component”, Chief Executive Officer Philippe Heim said in the company’s statement.
While many of the world’s biggest banks have committed to reach net-zero emissions across their operations and lending books by 2050, few have provided specifics on how they plan to reach that target. For many, a first step is to reduce their lending to companies that export or extract coal, the most carbon intensive fossil fuel, but none have gone as far as turning off the taps for oil and gas clients.
Banks and financial companies are under increasing pressure to step up their commitments to cut carbon emissions, as scientists warn that the planet is heating at an alarming pace. Next month, world leaders will gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for the COP26 climate talks, in a bid to extract more ambitious promises from governments and businesses to avoid a climate catastrophe.
The bank, which had its announcement supported by nonprifts including Reclaim Finance, Oxfam and Friends of the Earth, also saw its climate strategy recognized by the Science Based Targets initiative.
The SBTi, a widely endorsed program for screening corporate climate plans, has deemed La Banque Postale’s climate strategy compatible with the Paris Agreement’s objective to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Among others commitments, Banque Postale has pledged to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse-gas emissions by 46% by 2030 from 2019 levels, according to a statement from the SBTi. Of the 970 companies with climate targets that meet the SBTi criteria, only three are financial institutions -- Banque Postale, South Korea’s KB Financial Group Inc. and Swedish private-equity firm EQT AB.
“The financial sector plays a significant role in decarbonizing the economy and driving corporate climate action”, SBTi Managing Director Alberto Carrillo Pineda said in the statement. “We need asset managers, banks, insurers and others to align their climate targets to the global climate goals in a robust and transparent manner.”
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