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Report

The role of French banks in global forest destruction

Since the law passed, the three French banks examined here have yet to publicly report in their annual ‘vigilance plans’ on identified risks posed by companies exposed to, involved in, or linked with, deforestation and related human rights abuses...

BNP Paribas told Global Witness that it is currently engaged in a dialogue with such clients to ensure that they adopt responsible practices. BNP Paribas states that “all our clients operating in the Amazonian and Cerrado regions are either already certified or engaged in a certification process which we are monitoring.” ...

Natixis informed Global Witness that because it has had a relationship with Olam since 1999, it annually reviews the company – a process that includes assessing environmental and social risks associated with their activities. The bank highlights that [...] Olam has achieved significant progress...

An Olam spokesman told Global Witness the company is committed to no further expansion until all their plantations achieve full certification with the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil in 2021...

Crédit Agricole stated that Sinochem is a participant in sustainability initiatives. They said that Halcyon Agri has addressed its legacy issues...

The bank said that it would engage further with the company in the case of “continued incidence of events that are in contradiction with the sustainability policies published by Halcyon Agri”...

The French government should:

- Lead a national and global strategy to tackle the role played by financial institutions in financing deforestation

- Ensure that French financial institutions, including those named here, are reporting under the duty of vigilance law on measures taken to identify and address any risks that their financing contributes directly or indirectly to deforestation or human rights abuses

- Continue to support EU legislation to require companies and financial institutions to undertake mandatory due diligence to ensure they are not contributing to deforestation or human rights abuses.