Environmental litigation continues to grow and after the processes that have been seen against some oil tankers, the current reaches the financial entities. The environmental organizations Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and Notre Affaire à Tous have filed a joint lawsuit against the BNP Paribas bank. According to these NGOs, the entity has breached the French law that, since 2017, requires entities not to carry out actions that harm the environment.
According to the organizations’ complaint, BNP would have infringed the regulations by supporting the financing of the fossil fuel sector. Specifically, as reported by Bloomberg, the entity has 23,700 million dollars in outstanding loans with the oil and gas industry.
In addition, the French bank would have ignored the previous requirements of the three associations to put an end to their “climate-killing” activities (those that involve financing fossil fuels), which is why the period provided by law (three months) elapsed without a response. , complainants have the right to resort to Justice.
This judicial conflict is not the first with a climatic nature. In fact, more and more such cases are being recorded. However, this is the first lawsuit filed against a commercial bank on this issue, since there are only lawsuits against public financial institutions. According to Bloomberg, lawsuits have increased as a model for carrying out climate activism in recent years.
In fact, from 2012 to 2021 a total of 161 cases have been registered, since they went from 77 processes to 238. In addition, faced with the 18% drop in this type of litigation in 2022, the expectations are that after climate regulations are reinforced worldwide, cases are growing again.
Complaint for deforesting the Amazon
Notre Affaire À Tous and Comissao Pastoral da Terra (CPT) also announced on Monday that they had filed a complaint with the Paris Judicial Court against the BNP Paribas bank for providing financial services to the Brazilian meat giant Marfrig, accused of contributing to the def of the Amazon and the violation of human rights there.
The NGOs justify their judicial initiative because considering that the entity violates this form of the new French legislation, which since 2017 imposes a “duty of vigilance” on its multinationals regarding the involvement of their activities. Specifically, this regulation requires “reasonable surveillance measures that make it possible to identify risks and prevent serious attacks against human rights and fundamental freedoms, the health and safety of people, as well as against the environment, and that result from the company and the companies it controls”, explains EFE.
The complainants affirm that Marfrig’s suppliers have carried out “illegal and serious deforestation in the Amazon, but they have also grabbed land in “protected autochthonous territories” and have applied “forced labor” on cattle farms. They cite a study carried out by the Center for Climate Crime Analysis (CCCA) on two Marfrig meat conditioning plants between 2009 and 2020.