Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Amsterdam, 16 July 2019. Most major banks and insurance companies in The Netherlands invest in shale gas companies and plastic producers. ING is the biggest financier of shale gas and plastics, Aegon and Allianz are the biggest investors. In total, Dutch banks spent 5,3 billion dollars to finance the 10 major shale gas and plastics companies selected for inclusion in the study. Dutch banks and insurance groups invested over 4 billion dollars in shares and bonds. These are the results of a study conducted by the Dutch Fair Finance Guide in cooperation with Plastic Soup Foundation.
Evert Hassink, spokesperson for the Dutch Fair Finance Guide: ‘ING and ABN Amro claim to be upset by the plastic soup found all over the world. Meanwhile they keep financing the production of a growing amount of plastics and shale gas. After all the nice words about sustainability, it’s time for action to protect the seas and the climate. Stop now, phase out financing of shale gas and plastics.’
Seven Dutch banks and nine insurance groups in the Netherlands have been researched. Aegon and Allianz, major insurance groups, were identified as the biggest investors in shale gas and plastics. For loans, ING is by far the biggest. ABN Amro ranks second. These figures are based on data in commercial financial databases on financing of the ten most relevant shale gas and plastics companies. Total financing of shale gas and plastics companies is probably higher.
Policies on investment in, or financing of, shale gas and plastics were analysed as well. Rabobank, NIBC, de Volksbank (including ASN Bank) and Triodos Bank exclude companies that are active in shale gas production. ING policies allow financing of shale gas, but only outside Europe. For other banks or insurance companies, no clear policies on a phase-out of shale gas production were found. Concerning plastics production, only Triodos and De Volksbank have a restrictive policy. All banks and insurance groups support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). These include the protection of the climate and the oceans. Supporting shale gas and plastics producers conflicts with the SDG’s.
Maria Westerbos, director of Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘While the world steps back from fossil fuels, oil companies invest in quadrupling plastics production. If this growth continues, plastics will account for 14% of the greenhouse gases we can emit within safe planetary boundaries by 2050. By that date the oceans will contain more plastic than fish. To combat plastic soup we need a radical reduction of plastics production.’
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