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French lenders bankroll firms linked to deforestation: analysis

Author: AFP News, Published on: 10 February 2020

French banks have provided almost two billion euros of financial backing to agribusiness groups implicated in deforestation despite a law preventing firms from funding environmental damage, according to new analysis seen by AFP...

"The rapid breakdown of our climate is a concern to many -- including bank customers," said Laurence Duprat, a Global Witness campaign adviser...

"So it's unsurprising that banks and investors proudly trumpet policies on ethical investment and lending. But there is a blatant contradiction"... 

"The same French financial institutions are skirting their own policies at will..."

According to Global Witness, last year Natixis contributed $50 million (45 million euros) to a credit facility for Olam International, one of the world's largest agribusiness groups...

A spokesman from Olam said: "We strongly refute allegations of irresponsible deforestation or land conversion."

He told AFP that Olam works closely with the government of Gabon "to carefully balance Gabon's development needs with the imperative to conserve the country's unique forests"...

Credit Agricole is listed as a "principal banker" on the 2018 annual report of Halcyon Agri, a Singapore-based company also implicated in deforestation...

BNP Paribas in 2019 was still one of a number of banks operating a $500 million bond for Brazilian beef trader Marfrig, the analysis showed...

The bank told Global Witness that all its clients in the Amazon "are either already certified or engaged in a certification process" to ensure responsible practices.

 

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