Dutch financial sector is the largest European investor in deforestation
Over the past five years, ING, Rabobank, and ABN Amro have provided 3.1 billion euros in loans for goods that often contribute to deforestation, such as soy. By the end of last year, pension funds, insurers, and banks contributed 362 million euros into these goods, according to research conducted by Milieudefensie and Profundo.
"The Dutch financial sector is the European champion of financing deforestation," says campaign manager Wouter Kolk of Milieudefensie. "In the middle of a climate and biodiversity crisis, we are putting our money towards making it worse and throwing oil on the fire! The world has turned upside down. There should be a climate obligation that obliges polluters like these financial institutions to make their supply chains deforestation-free."
Milieudefensie and Profundo investigated how much money went from Dutch financial institutions to companies that focus on palm oil, beef, pulp and paper, soy, rubber, cocoa, and coffee. The production of these goods have a high risk of causing tropical deforestation, according to Milieudefensie. ING, Rabobank, and ABN Amro provided 3.1 billion euros in loans for this purpose between 2016 and 2021, two-thirds of which were for palm oil and soy. Three quarters of the 362 million euros invested by pension funds, insurers, and banks went to beef and palm oil.
The study found that the Dutch spend more than any other financial sector in Europe on these "deforestation risk goods", according to the two organizations. Dutch banks, insurers, and pension funds are the second-largest investors in beef after China and the United States and the primary lenders for soy. ING and Rabobank are in the international top ten financial institutions financing the soy trade, according to Milieudefensie and Profundo.
Reporting by ANP