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The activist group urged investors to use their shareholder rights to push banks to exclude finance for oil and gas expansion.

“This year, they need to replicate that success with oil and gas expansion.”

Barclays said it continued to focus on its “ambition to become a net zero bank by 2050”.

Responding to the findings, HSBC said in a statement that it was committed to working with its “customers to achieve a transition towards a thriving low-carbon economy”.

Story Highlights

  • A total 25 lenders, led by HSBC, Barclays and BNP Paribas, last year provided fossil fuel groups with a total of $55 billion (48.5 billion euros), ShareAction said in a report.

  • “Last year, shareholders were instrumental in pushing banks to adopt or strengthen restrictions on coal finance,” said Kelly Shields, senior officer for banking standards at ShareAction.

It said that it has “restrictions around the direct financing of new oil and gas exploration projects in the Arctic or financing for companies primarily engaged in oil and gas exploration and production in this region”.

ShareAction said there was little evidence to show that banks want to help clients to transition away from fossil fuels.

“ShareAction’s research found that Danske Bank and NatWest are the only (European) banks publicly requesting some of their oil and gas clients to publish transition plans by a set date”. It said that France’s La Banque Postale is the only lender to require clients to rule out oil and gas expansion.

Reacting to the study, BNP Paribas said it provided major finance to European energy companies showing “strong investment in the development of renewables”. Also Read:

It marked a huge turnaround from 2020, when they posted losses as the pandemic emerged, prompting lockdowns that brought the world economy to a grinding halt and caused crude prices to collapse. The prospect of military action by one of the world’s largest oil exporters raised the chances of further supply disruption as producers are already falling behind rising demand.