Complaints filed over ING's continued investment in fossil fuels

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, BNR reports.

The organizations claim that "ING is still falling seriously short" in sticking to the climate agreement signed in Paris in December 2015. The agreement states that global warming must be kept below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius. According to the organizations, ING "finances many companies and projects in industries that emit many greenhouse gases" and the bank shows no intention to counteract this in the near future. This is contrary to OECD guidelines, the complaint states.

The complaint further states that ING is misleading customers with its "frequently published statement" that the bank has been climate neutral since 2007. According to the organizations, ING is not taking into account the climate impact of indirect emissions - and this impact is "significantly greater" than the direct climate impact taken into account in the bank's climate neutral statements. They call on the bank to map and publish its "indirect greenhouse gas emissions" and to set and work towards targets that are in line with OECD guidelines and the Paris climate agreement. 

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."