How the Finance Flows: the banks fuelling the climate crisis shows that bank financing provided to the fossil fuel industry in the Global South reached an estimated US$3.2 trillion in the seven years since the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted, with US$370 billion provided to the largest industrial agriculture companies operating in the Global South.
The problem with banks and finance flows
As the climate crisis escalates, fossil fuels and industrial agriculture – the two industries that are the largest contributors to climate change – continue to expand and benefit from huge financial flows, while the solutions needed to address the climate crisis remain woefully underfunded.
These industries are not sustainable and can lead to mass deforestation in parts of the world, like the Amazon, which threatens indigenous communities, destroys biodiversity, increases emissions and reduces the planet's ability to soak up carbon.
Despite global banks’ public pledges that they are addressing climate change, they continue to invest in fossil fuels and industrial agriculture on a staggering scale.
Bank financing provided to the fossil fuel industry in the Global South reached an estimated US$3.2 trillion in the seven years since the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted.
Bank financing provided to the largest industrial agriculture companies operating in the Global South amounted to US$370 billion over the same period.
Our new research shows:
- The largest European financiers of fossil fuels and agribusiness are HSBC, BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Barclays.
- In the Americas, the three largest US banks were Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.
- The largest Asian financiers of fossil fuels and industrial agriculture are the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China CITIC Bank, Bank of China and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial.
Our campaign will lobby to shift financial flows from many crucial institutions - and our first focus is on banks.
- Immediately stop project and corporate financing for all new deforestation, coal and fossil fuel expansion activities, and rapidly phase out financing of all other fossil fuel and harmful industrial agriculture activities
- Strengthen policies against human rights abuses and deforestation to protect the rights of communities. Ensuring Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), robust safeguards and effective disclosure and redress mechanisms.
- Strengthen transparency and tools for verification by enhancing measures to ensure accountability of project and corporate financing.
- Set real and ambitious targets to bring financing portfolio emissions down to as close to zero as possible, without offsets, and covering the full scope of the emissions arising from loans and underwriting.
- Effectively regulate the banking, finance, fossil fuel and industrial agriculture sectors;
- Redirect harmful fossil fuel and industrial agricultural subsidies;
- Scale up support and planning for just transitions to real solutions such as renewable energy and agroecology.
- Finance just transitions through scaled-up climate finance, tax justice and debt relief.