Dutch NGOs file OECD complaint against ING bank over climate change

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9 May 2017

Summary of OECD complaint against ING urging ambitious carbon footprint reduction targets

Author: OECD Watch

On 8 May 2017, 4 NGOs based in The Netherlands, have sent a formal complaint against ING Bank to the (Dutch) National Contact Point OECD-Guidelines (NCP, https://www.oecdguidelines.nl/ncp). Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace, BankTrack and Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) accuse ING Bank of violating the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (http://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/48004323.pdf) regarding climate change and the environment. According to research of the Fair Finance Guide (FFGI) ING invests 8 times more in fossil industries compared with INGs loans to sustainable energy companies (US$ 24.5 billion in 5 years). ING plans to finance 4 new coal power plants in for example Indonesia and the Dominican Republic. The NGOs argue that ING is violating several articles of the OECD guidelines. For example, the OECD Guidelines ask for ‘measurable objectives’ and ‘targets for improved environmental performance’. The Guidelines also ‘encourage (...) disclosure (...) greenhouse gas emissions (...) to cover direct and indirect, current and future, corporate and product emissions.’ Although ING reports about its own, direct, greenhouse gas emissions, it does not report about its indirect, product emissions. The NGOs hope that the NCP will encourage ING to fully comply with the OECD Guidelines. Procedures at NCPs usually take 6-12 months to get finalized. In their formal complaint, the NGOs request ING to publish its total carbon footprint (including indirect emissions as a result of INGs loans and investments) and publish ambitious, concrete and measurable emission reduction targets for its loans and investments. Both in 2018 at the latest.

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8 May 2017

ING spokesperson comments on complaint

Author: Janene Pieters, NL Times (Netherlands)

Greenpeace, Milieudefensie, Oxfam Novib and BankTrack filed a joint complaint against ING over the bank's continued investment in fossil fuels. According to the organization, ING still invests billions of euros in fossil energy and is thereby violating OECD guidelines...This complaint was filed in time for ING's annual shareholders meeting. The organizations hope that the bank will make commitments on halting fossil fuel investments during the meeting. Arnaud Cohen Stuart, ING's business ethics manager, called the complaint unnecessary and rash in a comment to BNR. "Climate change is an important subject. We are busy with it", he said to the broadcaster. "They are right that we invest in fossil energy. With international organizations, that remains important until 2040, but it's about ensuring that we can become sustainable as quickly as possible." According to him, ING is transparent about its investments. "As far as transparency is concerned, we are a front runner."

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