ING, ABP invested €880 million in company responsible for Russian environmental disaster
Dutch bank ING and pension fund ABP together invested over 1 billion dollars, or over 880 million euros, into Norilsk Nickel by means of loans and investments, according to research by the Fair Bank and Pension Guide. The Russian mining company is held responsible for a massive diesel leak in Russia last month, one of the biggest environmental disasters in Russian history, NU.nl reports.
According to the Guide, ABP invested 221 million dollars in Norilsk Nickel shares. And ING invested a total of 846 million dollars in loans to the company between 2016 and 2019. The Fair Bank and Pension Guide is a collaboration between Amnesty International, Milieudefensie, Oxam Novib, PAX, and World Animal Protection. It's goal is to publicly point out financial institutions' dodgy investments.
Norilsk Nickel is held responsible for 21 thousand tons of diesel fuel leaking from a power plant in Russia, polluting an area of 350 square kilometers - an area the size of the municipality of Rotterdam. It is one of the biggest environmental disasters in Russian history. In the area where the mining company operates, the permafrost is melting due to global warming. This caused the ground beneath the diesel storage tank to become unstable, resulting in the leak.
In a response, ING told NU.nl that it shares the concerns about the diesel leak and that it is in contact with Norilsk Nickel about its business operations and sustainability policy, among other things. "In the past two weeks, we have been in contact with our customer Norilsk Nickel several times about the cause of the leak and the measures the company is taking. We see that Norilsk Nickel is taking the situation very seriously and is doing everything possible to clean the area and to prevent this from happening again in the future," ING said to the newspaper.
ABP told the newspaper that it plans to use its influence as a long-term investor to encourage Norilsk Nickel to repair the environmental damage and to take measures to prevent new accidents. "We have had discussions with this company for a long tie about climate and human rights, among other things. Our conversations have intensified in response to this incident. We continue to monitor whether Norilsk meets environmental standards, while also being alert to how the company is dealing with the physical consequences of climate change. It follows from our sustainability policy that if the dialogue with a company does not lead to the desired results, we can always consider selling our investment," ABP said.