Netherlands -Three years after the Paris Climate Agreement, Dutch banks still fund fossil energy much more fanatically than renewable energy. This appears from a new investigation by the Fair Bank Guide. The percentage of fossil energy loans is falling, but not nearly enough to speak of a change. ABN Amro Bank and the ING Group even invested at least as much in oil, coal and gas companies as before.
In total, Dutch banks financed percentage of less fossil energy from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2017 than in the years before the Paris Climate Agreement. While 81 percent of energy loans went to fossil energy companies in 2013-2014, this percentage dropped to 74 percent in 2016-2017. In 2013-2014, only 19 percent of the loans from the investigated banks went to sustainable energy companies. In 2016-2017 this percentage rose to 26 percent.
ABN Amro Bank
ABN Amro Bank lent fossil energy companies no less than 3 billion euros in 2016 and 2017, relatively much more than in the 2013-2014 period. In that period, ABN Amro Bank invested 68 percent of its energy loans in fossil energy companies, but in 2016-2017 this rose to 82 percent. The loans to renewable energy companies fell from 32 percent of all energy loans in 2013-2014 to 18 percent in 2016-2017.
ABN Amro is therefore the worst-rated of the seven banks investigated in this study. We call on ABN Amro to become really green. The bank should rapidly reduce its loans to the fossil energy sector and significantly increase the financing of renewable energy companies.
Of the Dutch banks, ING Group is by far the most important financier of fossil energy. In 2016-2017, the bank invested € 7 billion in fossil energy companies, compared with € 1.6 billion in renewable energy. Although the share of fossil energy in the energy loans of ING Group decreased slightly - from 87 percent in 2013-2014 to 83 percent in 2016-201 - the vast majority remains focused on fossil energy.
The Fair Bank Guide calls on ING Group to stop financing fossil energy companies quickly and to expand the financing of sustainable initiatives and companies. ING Group should also implement its recent intention to bring companies with which it does business in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Like in 2013-2014, Rabobank lent roughly as much to fossil and sustainable energy companies in 2016-2017. The bank invested around 1.4 billion euros in fossil energy companies in 2016-2017, increasing the percentage of "fossil" in Rabobanks energy loans from 51 percent in 2013-2014 to 55 percent in 2016-2017. The Fair Bank Guide believes that money flows to gas, oil and coal companies should be phased out quickly if the bank really takes climate change seriously. Financing of sustainable energy companies needs to be further increased.
Of the other banks surveyed, de Volksbank (including ASN Bank) and Triodos Bank, as in the previous research period, also invested 100% in sustainable energy companies in 2016-2017. NIBC only invested in energy companies that do not appear in the list of companies investigated.
Unfortunately, money from bank customers is often still largely invested in the fossil energy industry. The large banks ING Group and ABN Amro Bank in particular are spending more money on gas, oil and coal companies than on sustainable solutions such as wind, solar and geothermal companies.
The banks under investigation lend more money to sustainable energy companies and the development of sustainable projects. But as long as plenty of money is invested in fossil energy companies, banks are undermining the transition to a climate-friendly energy supply. The banks must therefore rapidly reduce their fossil investments.
Read the full report here