Netherlands: National Contact Point issues first ever final statement in case related to climate change; specifies responsibilities of ING & other banks

On 14 November 2017, the Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) accepted the OECD guidelines complaint brought by Greenpeace Netherlands, Oxfam Novib, BankTrack and Milieudefensie, in relation to ING's investments in fossil fuels. 

This is the first time an NCP has accepted a complaint relating to climate change. Greenpeace notes this could be a landmark decision paving a new route to holding corporations accountable for their impact on the climate.

The NCP has commenced an initial investigation regarding the alleged lack of planning to report or reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from its operation. Initial NCP assessment only available in Dutch, English to follow shortly. 

In December 2017, ING published its decision to almost completely phase out their investments in the coal industry by the year 2025. ING also stated that it would refrain from investing in new coal-fired power stations.

On 19 April 2019, the Dutch NCP issued its final statement, demanding that ING Bank sets concrete climate goals for its financial services that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. While the statement does not establish whether or not the ING violated the OECD Guidelines in 2017, the organisations that lodged the complaint are pleased that the OECD NCP - for the first time - has taken a clear position on climate goals, and that ING has now agreed to bring its portfolio in line with the Paris Agreement.

 

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Article
23 April 2019

Netherlands: National Contact Point issues first ever final statement in case related to climate change; specifies responsibilities of ING & other banks

Author: OECD Watch, Oxfam Netherlands, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Banktrack & Greenpeace Netherlands.

"OECD Guidelines: Banks must publish climate targets in line with Paris climate agreement", 19 April 2019

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises demand that ING Bank sets concrete climate goals for its financial services that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. This is the final statement of the Dutch National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines following a complaint lodged against ING in May 2017 by [four organisations]...

It was the first time that a climate-related complaint was declared admissible by an OECD Contact Point.

After this complaint was lodged, ING published its decision in December 2017 to almost completely phase out their investments in the coal industry by the year 2025. ING also stated that it would refrain from investing in new coal-fired power stations. In September 2018, ING publicly announced that it will begin steering its lending portfolio towards meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal... In its statement, the National Contact Point does not establish whether or not the ING violated the OECD Guidelines in 2017.

ING, Banktrack, Greenpeace, Milieudefensie and Oxfam Novib call directly upon the Dutch government to request the International Energy Agency to develop as soon as possible two scenarios [...] that provide a 66% chance to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will allow banks and other financial institutions to adjust their loans and investments accordingly.

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Article
19 April 2019

Final Statement Dutch NCP specific instance, 4 NGOs versus ING bank

Author: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Dutch NCP published the final statement in the case of Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace NL, BankTrack and Friends of the Earth (Netherlands), versus the ING. 

The specific instance is regarding ING's impact on climate change through its investments.

The parties reached an agreement on several of the issues raised.

The NCP concluded the case and calls upon all parties to continue their constructive dialogue on this important subject.

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Download the full document here

Article
14 November 2017

ING Bank on the hook for not reporting climate pollution

Author: Greenpeace

...[On] 14 November 2017... a climate complaint against ING filed by Greenpeace Netherlands, Oxfam, BankTrack and Milieudefensie for violating OECD guidelines, was accepted by a Dutch representative of the OECD. ...The Dutch bank will be investigated by the Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) for having no plan to report on and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from its financing.

This is the first time a NCP has accepted a complaint on the basis of a threat to the climate. This could open up a new avenue for holding businesses accountable for their carbon footprint and climate impacts.

...The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises...considers it important that companies report on how much they contribute directly and indirectly to greenhouse gas emissions and that companies set targets to reduce emissions. ...ING does this for the emissions of its own operations, but not for those of the companies and projects it finances.

...The four organisations... called on ING to demonstrate its commitment to the OECD Guidelines. ...ING can do this by publishing details of the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to its investments, as well as setting ambitious, concrete and measurable targets to reduce them.

...This investigation is part of a growing global wave of legal challenges to businesses failing to act on climate change.

[Also refers to Commonwealth Bank]

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